Tjuv-Antes grotta (Tjuv-Ante's Cave) located in northern Sweden is a round-abraded sea cave ('tunnel cave'), about 30 m in length, formed by rock-water abrasion in a dolerite dyke in granite gneiss. Abundant speleothems are restricted to the inner, mafic parts of the cave and absent on granite parts. The speleothems are of two types: cylindrical (coralloid, popcorn-like), and flowstone (thin crusts). Coralloids correspond to terrestrial stromatolite speleothems in which layers of light calcite alternate with dark, silica-rich laminae. The dark laminae are also enriched in carbon and contain incorporated remains of microorganisms. Two types of microbial communities can be distinguished associated with the speleothems: an Actinobacteria-like biofilm and a fungal community. Actinobacteria seem to play an important role in the formation of speleothem while the fungal community acts as both a constructive and a destructive agent. A modern biofilm dominated by Actinobacteria is present in the speleothem-free parts of the dolerite and located in cave ceiling cracks. These biofilms may represent sites of early speleothem formation. Because of its unusual position in between two types of host rock, Tjuv-Ante's Cave represents a unique environment in which to study differences in microbe-rock interactions and speleothem genesis between the granite and dolerite host rock. Our study shows that the mafic rock is superior to the granite in hosting a microbial community and to support formation of speleothems.
International Journal of Speleology, 2014, Vol 43, Issue 3, p. 305-313