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SUMMARY

Solutions of calcium bicarbonate were allowed to lose carbon dioxide and evaporate to dryness under controlled temperature conditions. With filtered solutions prepared from spar calcite, precipitates were 100% calcite in the 2° to 100°C temperature range. When, in analogous experiments, coralline aragonite was the starting material, the precipitates were 100% calcite. Essentially the same was true when carbonate rocks from karst areas were used to prepare the experimental solutions. An artificially prepared mixture (maximum crystal size of about 7 u) of 70% aragonite and 30% calcite was also used in the study. The precipitates from this starting material were apparently affected by seed nuclei which passed through the filter. The stability of calcium carbonate seed nuclei appears to vary with temperature. Natural calcium bicarbonate solutions from caves yielded only calcite at 25°C.

Calcite should be the dominant or only polymorph of CaCO3 formed by the loss of carbon dioxide and evaporation of natural calcium bicarbonate solutions if temperature is the controlling factor. Since appreciable amounts of aragonite are found in many cave deposits, factors other than temperature must influence the polymorphs formed.

POBEGUIN (1955) proposed that rapid evaporation and slow diffusion of solutions favor aragonite. If so, layers of aragonite and calcite in speleothems may reprsent alternate wet and dry paleoclimates. During these periods, rate of introduction of solution and rate of evaporation would change markedly.