Cave pearls are a distinct form of loose, spherical mineral deposit precipitated in caves (speleothems). This paper by Žák et al. describes a genetically distinct type of cave pearls found in seasonally frozen ice caves of Carpathian Mountains, termed “cryogenic cave pearls.” Integrating petrographic, SEM, U-series and radiocarbon dating, and stable carbon and oxygen isotope analyses, they illustrate the essential role of seasonal freezing and frost action in the formation of cryogenic cave pearls. The results provide unique insights into the genesis of these features, and into conditions necessary for cave pearls in general.
Cryogenic Cave Pearls In the Periglacial Zones of Ice Caves by Karel Žák, Monika Orvošová, Michal Filippi, Lukáš Vlček, Bogdan P. Onac, Aurel Perşoiu, Jan Rohovec, and Ivo Světlík