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San Salvador caves, San Salvador Island, San Salvador District, Bahamasi
Regional Level Types
San Salvador cavesGroup of Caves
San Salvador IslandIsland
San Salvador DistrictDistrict
BahamasCountry

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Locality type:
Group of Caves


San Salvador Island occupies a small isolated bank within the Bahamian archipelago.

The limestone of San Salvador is young (<500,000 years) and is considered eogenetic; it has never been buried or undergone significant diagenesis.

Subaerial caves, in which minerals have been studied, are:
- pit caves, i.e. vadose shafts that collect water from the epikarst and conduct it towards the water table, including Hog Cay, Double Shaft, Triple Shaft, and Owl’s Hole;
- flank margin caves, which develop in the distal margin of the freshwater lens under the flank of the enclosing landmass. Most of the investigated samples were collected in such flank margin caves from the northern (Lighthouse, Reckley Hill Pond, Midget Horror, Garden Cave, Crescent Top, Pipe, and Majors) and southern (Dance Hall, Alter, Dripping Rock, Chinese Fire Drill, and Blowhole) part of the island.

Despite the lack of lithological variety on San Salvador Island, 20 different mineral species have been identified (Onac et al., 2009). This surprising mineral diversity has an explanation: the presence in and around the caves of some particular ingredients such as bat guano, seawater, and sea spray. Another reason for identifying this large number of minerals is that the studies have not only been focused on typical speleothems, but mostly on a variety of weathered crusts and earthy aggregates collected from within fresh or desiccated guano piles.

Minerals are distributed as follows:
aragonite, calcite, gypsum, cesanite, chlorapatite, fluorapatite, hydroxylapatite, archerite, ardealite, brushite, hopeite, monetite, and whitlockite at Lighthouse Cave; calcite, halite, gypsum, hydroxylapatite, brushite, and whitlockite at Reckley Hill Pond Water Cave; calcite, gypsum, and hydroxylapatite at Reckley Hill Pond Maze Cave, Pipe Cave, and Dripping Rock Cave; calcite, gypsum, hydroxylapatite, biphosphammite, and brushite at Midget Horror Cave; calcite and gypsum at Garden Cave and Hog Cay Cave; calcite, gypsum, hydroxylapatite, and brushite at Crescent Top Cave; calcite, gypsum, darapskite, and hydroxylapatite at Majors Cave; calcite, gypsum, hydroxylapatite, and monetite at Dance Hall Cave; calcite, celestine, and gypsum at Owl's Hole Shaft; aragonite, calcite, and gypsum at Double Shaft and Chinese Fire Drill Cave; aragonite, calcite, gypsum, and hydroxylapatite at Triple Shaft; aragonite, calcite, halite, gypsum, niter, nitratine, fluorapatite, hydroxylapatite, collinsite, and whitlockite at Altar Cave; calcite, halite, and gypsum at Blowhole Cave.

Lighthouse Cave is the second locality for cesanite, the first in a cave environment, which here appears as outward-radiating crystals (less than 50 μm in size) between calcite and gypsum layers.

The presence of hopeite, previously always reported as an ore-related mineral, at Lighthouse Cave is problematic. Onac et al. (2009) have considered three hypotheses for zinc origin: zinc, leached from soil, entered the cave via percolating water; zinc has been supplied by bat guano (Zn in bat guano can exceed 400 ppm and its concentration may vary according to the diet of different bat species); zinc derived from human activities such as waste burning and pollution from domestic wastewater. Accorging to the authors, the first and the second hypothesis seem more plausible for the source of Zn.

Regions containing this locality

North America PlateTectonic Plate
Atlantic OceanOcean
The CaribbeanRegion

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Mineral List


20 valid minerals.

Detailed Mineral List:

Aragonite
Formula: CaCO3
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Archerite
Formula: (K,NH4)(H2PO4)
Reference: Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Ardealite
Formula: Ca2(HPO4)(SO4) · 4H2O
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Biphosphammite
Formula: (NH4,K)(H2PO4)
Reference: Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Brushite
Formula: Ca(HPO4) · 2H2O
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Calcite
Formula: CaCO3
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Celestine
Formula: SrSO4
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Cesanite
Formula: Na3Ca2(SO4)3(OH)
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Chlorapatite
Formula: Ca5(PO4)3Cl
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Collinsite
Formula: Ca2Mg(PO4)2 · 2H2O
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Darapskite
Formula: Na3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
Reference: Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Fluorapatite
Formula: Ca5(PO4)3F
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Gypsum
Formula: CaSO4 · 2H2O
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Halite
Formula: NaCl
Reference: Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Hopeite
Formula: Zn3(PO4)2 · 4H2O
Reference: Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Hydroxylapatite
Formula: Ca5(PO4)3(OH)
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Monetite
Formula: Ca(HPO4)
Reference: Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Niter
Formula: KNO3
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Nitratine
Formula: NaNO3
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.
Whitlockite
Formula: Ca9Mg(PO4)6(HPO4)
Reference: Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.; Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 3 - Halides
Halite3.AA.20NaCl
Group 5 - Nitrates and Carbonates
Aragonite5.AB.15CaCO3
Calcite5.AB.05CaCO3
Niter5.NA.10KNO3
Nitratine5.NA.05NaNO3
Group 7 - Sulphates, Chromates, Molybdates and Tungstates
Celestine7.AD.35SrSO4
Cesanite7.BD.20Na3Ca2(SO4)3(OH)
Darapskite7.DG.05Na3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
Gypsum7.CD.40CaSO4 · 2H2O
Group 8 - Phosphates, Arsenates and Vanadates
Archerite8.AD.15(K,NH4)(H2PO4)
Ardealite8.CJ.50Ca2(HPO4)(SO4) · 4H2O
Biphosphammite8.AD.15(NH4,K)(H2PO4)
Brushite8.CJ.50Ca(HPO4) · 2H2O
Chlorapatite8.BN.05Ca5(PO4)3Cl
Collinsite8.CG.05Ca2Mg(PO4)2 · 2H2O
Fluorapatite8.BN.05Ca5(PO4)3F
Hopeite8.CA.30Zn3(PO4)2 · 4H2O
Hydroxylapatite8.BN.05Ca5(PO4)3(OH)
Monetite8.AD.10Ca(HPO4)
Whitlockite8.AC.45Ca9Mg(PO4)6(HPO4)

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 9 - NORMAL HALIDES
AX
Halite9.1.1.1NaCl
Group 14 - ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
A(XO3)
Calcite14.1.1.1CaCO3
Group 18 - NORMAL NITRATES
AXO3·xH2O, where x can equal zero
Niter18.1.2.1KNO3
Nitratine18.1.1.1NaNO3
Group 20 - COMPOUND NITRATES
Miscellaneous
Darapskite20.1.1.1Na3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
Group 28 - ANHYDROUS ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
AXO4
Celestine28.3.1.2SrSO4
Group 29 - HYDRATED ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
AXO4·xH2O
Gypsum29.6.3.1CaSO4 · 2H2O
Group 30 - ANHYDROUS SULFATES CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
(AB)5(XO4)3Zq
Cesanite30.3.3.1Na3Ca2(SO4)3(OH)
Group 37 - ANHYDROUS ACID PHOSPHATES, ARSENATES AND VANADATES
Miscellaneous
Archerite37.1.4.2(K,NH4)(H2PO4)
Biphosphammite37.1.4.1(NH4,K)(H2PO4)
Monetite37.1.1.1Ca(HPO4)
Group 38 - ANHYDROUS NORMAL PHOSPHATES, ARSENATES, AND VANADATES
(AB)3(XO4)2
Whitlockite38.3.4.1Ca9Mg(PO4)6(HPO4)
Group 39 - HYDRATED ACID PHOSPHATES,ARSENATES AND VANADATES
A[HXO4]·xH2O
Brushite39.1.1.1Ca(HPO4) · 2H2O
Group 40 - HYDRATED NORMAL PHOSPHATES,ARSENATES AND VANADATES
AB2(XO4)2·xH2O
Collinsite40.2.2.3Ca2Mg(PO4)2 · 2H2O
A3(XO4)2·xH2O
Hopeite40.3.4.1Zn3(PO4)2 · 4H2O
Group 41 - ANHYDROUS PHOSPHATES, ETC.CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
A5(XO4)3Zq
Chlorapatite41.8.1.2Ca5(PO4)3Cl
Fluorapatite41.8.1.1Ca5(PO4)3F
Hydroxylapatite41.8.1.3Ca5(PO4)3(OH)
Group 43 - COMPOUND PHOSPHATES, ETC.
Acid Compound Phosphates, etc·
Ardealite43.1.1.1Ca2(HPO4)(SO4) · 4H2O
Unclassified Minerals, Mixtures, etc.
Aragonite-CaCO3

List of minerals for each chemical element

HHydrogen
H GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
H CesaniteNa3Ca2(SO4)3(OH)
H ArdealiteCa2(HPO4)(SO4) · 4H2O
H BrushiteCa(HPO4) · 2H2O
H HydroxylapatiteCa5(PO4)3(OH)
H CollinsiteCa2Mg(PO4)2 · 2H2O
H WhitlockiteCa9Mg(PO4)6(HPO4)
H DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
H Archerite(K,NH4)(H2PO4)
H Biphosphammite(NH4,K)(H2PO4)
H HopeiteZn3(PO4)2 · 4H2O
H MonetiteCa(HPO4)
CCarbon
C CalciteCaCO3
C AragoniteCaCO3
NNitrogen
N NiterKNO3
N NitratineNaNO3
N DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
N Biphosphammite(NH4,K)(H2PO4)
OOxygen
O CalciteCaCO3
O AragoniteCaCO3
O GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
O CelestineSrSO4
O CesaniteNa3Ca2(SO4)3(OH)
O ArdealiteCa2(HPO4)(SO4) · 4H2O
O BrushiteCa(HPO4) · 2H2O
O HydroxylapatiteCa5(PO4)3(OH)
O FluorapatiteCa5(PO4)3F
O ChlorapatiteCa5(PO4)3Cl
O CollinsiteCa2Mg(PO4)2 · 2H2O
O WhitlockiteCa9Mg(PO4)6(HPO4)
O NiterKNO3
O NitratineNaNO3
O DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
O Archerite(K,NH4)(H2PO4)
O Biphosphammite(NH4,K)(H2PO4)
O HopeiteZn3(PO4)2 · 4H2O
O MonetiteCa(HPO4)
FFluorine
F FluorapatiteCa5(PO4)3F
NaSodium
Na CesaniteNa3Ca2(SO4)3(OH)
Na NitratineNaNO3
Na HaliteNaCl
Na DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
MgMagnesium
Mg CollinsiteCa2Mg(PO4)2 · 2H2O
Mg WhitlockiteCa9Mg(PO4)6(HPO4)
PPhosphorus
P ArdealiteCa2(HPO4)(SO4) · 4H2O
P BrushiteCa(HPO4) · 2H2O
P HydroxylapatiteCa5(PO4)3(OH)
P FluorapatiteCa5(PO4)3F
P ChlorapatiteCa5(PO4)3Cl
P CollinsiteCa2Mg(PO4)2 · 2H2O
P WhitlockiteCa9Mg(PO4)6(HPO4)
P Archerite(K,NH4)(H2PO4)
P Biphosphammite(NH4,K)(H2PO4)
P HopeiteZn3(PO4)2 · 4H2O
P MonetiteCa(HPO4)
SSulfur
S GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
S CelestineSrSO4
S CesaniteNa3Ca2(SO4)3(OH)
S ArdealiteCa2(HPO4)(SO4) · 4H2O
S DarapskiteNa3(SO4)(NO3) · H2O
ClChlorine
Cl ChlorapatiteCa5(PO4)3Cl
Cl HaliteNaCl
KPotassium
K NiterKNO3
K Archerite(K,NH4)(H2PO4)
K Biphosphammite(NH4,K)(H2PO4)
CaCalcium
Ca CalciteCaCO3
Ca AragoniteCaCO3
Ca GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
Ca CesaniteNa3Ca2(SO4)3(OH)
Ca ArdealiteCa2(HPO4)(SO4) · 4H2O
Ca BrushiteCa(HPO4) · 2H2O
Ca HydroxylapatiteCa5(PO4)3(OH)
Ca FluorapatiteCa5(PO4)3F
Ca ChlorapatiteCa5(PO4)3Cl
Ca CollinsiteCa2Mg(PO4)2 · 2H2O
Ca WhitlockiteCa9Mg(PO4)6(HPO4)
Ca MonetiteCa(HPO4)
ZnZinc
Zn HopeiteZn3(PO4)2 · 4H2O
SrStrontium
Sr CelestineSrSO4

References

Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
- Bottrell S.H., Carew J.L., Mylroie J.E. (1993): Inorganic and bacteriogenic origin for sulfate crusts in flank margin cave, San Salvador Island, Bahamas. In: White B. (ed.), Proc. of the 6th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, 17-21.
- Onac B.P., Mylroie J.E., White W.B. (2001): Mineralogy of cave deposits on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Carbonates and Evaporites, 16, 1, 8-16.
- Mylroie J.E., Carew J.L. (2008): Field guide to the geology and karst geomorphology of San Salvador Island. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, 88 pp.
- Onac B.P., Sumrall J., Mylroie J.E., Kearns J. (2009): Cave minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The University of South Florida karst studies series, 1, 70 pp.

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