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Project Report for MSc.

Cave Aragonites of NSW

Jill Rowling

November 2000


A Part-Time MSc. Project at the University of Sydney, Geosciences Department. Supervisors: Tom Hubble and Dr Armstrong Osborne.

The aims of this project are to investigate caves reported to contain aragonite; verify that the material either is or is not aragonite; analyse the substrate on which the aragonite is depositing; and to determine what factors lead to the deposition of aragonite in NSW caves.

There is surprisingly little scientific literature regarding its occurence in NSW caves.

There are a number of chemical and physical factors which affect the stability of aragonite in the cave environment. Aragonite is unstable in the freshwater environment, so deposition of aragonite in the spelean environment is unexpected, however it has been reported from a number of NSW cave areas.

Aragonite can deposit at the expense of calcite when a calcite inhibitor is present.

The methodology being used to investigate aragonite involves a literature search; visits to cave areas and selection of suitable field sites; obtaining samples at field study sites; analysis of samples; and determining what factors lead to the deposition of aragonite in NSW caves.

The project was started in July 1999. This presentation was originally given as a progress report to the Geosciences Dept at the University of Sydney on Friday 1st December 2000.

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