RO4 - Cave minerals in Romania

Leaders: Bogdan P. Onac (University of South Florida, USA; bonac@cas.usf.edu), Tudor Tamaş (Babeş-Bolyai University & "Emil Racoviţa" Institute of Speleology, Cluj-Napoca)

Practical information:
  • Duration: 5 day
  • Pre-conference: 15.08.2010 Cluj-Napoca (RO) - 19.08.2010 Cluj-Napoca (RO)
  • Length: 650 km (excluding travel from Cluj-Napoca to Budapest after the field trip)
  • Min. number of participants: 3
  • Max. number of participants: 8
  • Field trip registration fee
    • Student/young scientist: EUR 60
    • Normal: EUR 120
  • Accommodation and meals cost: EUR 100
  • Demands: All caves are easily accesible, however, ~5 hours stay is planned in Vântului (Wind) Cave and participants should be physically fit enough. The cave is partly equipped (metal ladders) and the route is fairly comfortable for walk. A two hours hike (rather steep hill at the beginning of the trail) is intended to reach the Scărişoara Ice Cave, but car transfer will be provided for those who prefer not to hike.
  • Means of transport: van
  • Accommodation: Double room
    (for single possibilities contact Robert Hohol)
Full technical details in PDF format
Detailed itinerary in PDF format
Photo: Icewall in the Scărişoara Ice Cave (RO)
Icewall in the Scărişoara Ice Cave (RO)


Scientific focus (keywords): speleology; cave visit; cave mineralogy; guano; gypsum; phosphates; salt mining; medieval monuments

Photo: Phosphates in the Cioclovina Cave (RO) This field trip is designed as an en-route experience starting from Cluj towards the west and then to the south to the Cioclovina Cave. One of the key-sites to visit is the Vântului Cave (Wind Cave, Şuncuiuş, Bihor county), the most extensive karst system in Romania >50 km in length, where a number of mineralogical, geomicrobiological, and speleothem investigations have been carried out over the last 15 years. The cave is famous for its gypsum deposits and REE-rich manganese and iron coatings. The nearby Bolhac (Ungurului) Cave, hosts among other interesting minerals a potentially new mineral species, which is currently under description.

Urşilor Cave (Bears' Cave) at Chişcău (Bihor county) and Scărişoara Ice Cave at Gârda (Alba county) will give participants the opportunity to admire Romania's most beautiful touristic cave and the world's 2nd largest ice block in a cave (100,000 m3), respectively.

A large part of the trip will focus on the mineralogy of Cioclovina Cave (Şureanu Mountains, near the city of Hunedoara), from which over 25 minerals were described so far. Among them, rare occurrences of high-temperature minerals (berlinite, ellestadite-(OH)) along with a large number of common (brushite, monetite, crandallite etc.) and "exotic" (churchite-(Y), foggite. etc.) phosphate minerals.

Phosphates in the Cioclovina Cave (RO)


Daily programme:

Day 1 (15 Aug): Cluj-Napoca - Şuncuiuş: visit of Vântului (Wind) and Bolhac caves - Bratca - Beiuş - Chişcău: accommodation and dinner at Mance Guest House

Day 2 (16 Aug): Chişcău: visit of Urşilor (Bears') Cave - Vârtop: lunch at Mont Blanc Guest House - Gârda: hike/drive up to the Scărişoara Ice Cave - Gârda: accommodation in an agroturistic hostel

Day 3 (17 Aug): Gârda - Brad: Gold Museum - Deva - Hunedoara: visit of the medieval Hunyadi (Corvin) Castle - Băcia: dinner and accommodation

Day 4 (18 Aug): Băcia - Cioclovina: visit of Cioclovina Cave - Băcia: dinner and accommodation

Day 5 (19 Aug): Băcia - Turda: salt mine - Cluj-Napoca: visit of the historic centre, farewell dinner, accommodation

On-line registration >>

Photo: Forms, Wind Cave (Ro)
Paleogeode filled with calcite scalenohedra, Wind Cave (RO)


Map of the field trip with the key locations (or download Kml file for Google Earth):


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