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Calcite crystals & hypogene cave development - help needed!

Andy Farrant

Active member
BCRA is currently working with Manchester University on a project investigating hypogene cave development and its potential role for geothermal energy. The aim is to examine the geochemistry of the large calcite crystals that occur within some of the phreatic vein cavities and hypogene caves. By studying these crystals, we can constrain the processes and fluid composition/temperature that generated them as well as infer the fluid composition that generated the caves. At the moment, the project is focussed in the Peak District where there are many caves and old mines with large calcite crystals (sometimes bigger than 20 cm).

In this area, we know there was volcanic activity which may have had an impact on hypgene cave development by providing a source of CO2. In other karst areas in Yorkshire and Wales there was no significant volcanic activity, which may explain the relative lack of hypogene cave development. Of course, there are other differences between the Peak District and these other areas, and it is possible volcanic activity may have pre-dated cave formation and calcite precipitation. To test this hypothesis, we are looking for sites in Yorkshire and Wales where we can find some large calcite crystals. This can be from caves, old mines, quarries or surface outcrops. By comparing the geochemical signature of these crystals with the ones in the Derbyshire carbonate platform, we can understand the differences and similarities.

So, is anyone aware of any caves or mines in Yorkshire and Wales with large calcite crystals? There are sites we know of on Mendip & in the Bristol area such as Pen Park Hole, but other sites here may be of interest too.

Thanks in advance.