Le foval della grotta zinzulusa in Puglia (SE-Italia)


The clay-slime vermiculations, termed "foval" (from italian "Formazioni Vermicolari Argillo-Limose), are speleothemes of still obscure origin. In the Zinzulusa cave (Pu 107, SE-Italy) foval are very abundant, scattered on all vertical and horizontal rock surfaces, including those of calcitic speleothemes (stalactites and stalagmites). Foval with different texture complexity (c1-c4, according to the classification proposed in this paper), with or without halo, were found. The foval study took into consideration both morphological (inclination, perimeter, area, length, thickness, diameters, and colour) and microbiological characteristics. Microbiological analysis revealed the fungus Geotrichum sp. as dominant organism, besides several bacteria of clinical interest (Shigella sp., Campylobacter concisus, Enterobacter aerogenes, E. hafniae, Pseudomonas sutzeri, P. aeruginosa, Ancalomicrobium adetum, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Moraxella lacunata, M. osloensis).Geotrichum-cultures suggest that this organism is responsible for the vermicular effect: infact, Geotrichum produces a thick mucus aggregating clay particles; in addition, the colonies show a tendency to develop lineally according to a dendritic pattern, thus being considered as precursors of the most common foval morphology. These data support the hypothesis of biologic origin for the Zinzulusa foval complex.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i15910725v26supp207

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