• Cave hosted between ingnimbrite and calcareous diamicton, lavishly decorated with speleothems
  • Geochemical and geochronological constrains on the origin and development of the cave
  • Speleogenetic model based on stratigraphic, geochemistry and speloelogical surveys


Las Karmidas Cave (Puebla State, Mexico) is an unusual type of pseudokarstic cavity generated by piping and erosive processes within the contact of a diamicton and an overlying Quaternary ignimbrite. Morphological evidence suggests that the cave was developed in two stages: a phreatic stage and a vadose stage. The latter was characterized by the formation of carbonate speleothems. The absolute upper-age limit for the cave (168 +7.1/-7.5 ka) was established by U-Th dating of zircons grains extracted from the overlying ignimbrite, whilst a minimum age for the transition from a phreatic to vadose regime (95.6 ± 2.1 ka) was constrained by U-Th dating of carbonate speleothems within the cave. The geochronological results indicate a very rapid evolution of this pseudokarstic system, and suggest that similar systems might evolve and degrade at a very fast pace; consequently, making them hard to be preserved. Despite this, and considering the rather common geological context in which this system was developed, it is likely that similar pseudokarstic systems are yet to be detected worldwide.



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Aliaga-Campuzano_Suppl_Tables_1-5.xlsx (25 kB)
Supplemental Tables 1-5