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Ruatapu Cave (Alum Cave), Orakeikorako Thermal Area (Orakei Korako; The Hidden Valley), Taupo District, Waikato Region, New Zealandi
Regional Level Types
Ruatapu Cave (Alum Cave)Cave
Orakeikorako Thermal Area (Orakei Korako; The Hidden Valley)Area
Taupo DistrictDistrict
Waikato RegionRegion
New ZealandCountry

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Key
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):
38° 28' 32'' South , 176° 9' 3'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal):
Locality type:
Köppen climate type:
Nearest Settlements:
PlacePopulationDistance
Reporoa595 (2017)17.1km
Taupo22,469 (2017)23.8km
Tokoroa14,277 (2014)36.6km
Rotorua65,901 (2017)38.3km
Mamaku751 (2017)42.2km


Ruatapu or "Alum" Cave is one of the few caves known to have developed within an active thermal field. The Orakei Korako thermal area is dominated by alkali-chloride alteration but the cave hosts a steaming acid-sulphate pool and a series of efflorescences and other minerals produced as a result of acid-sulphate alteration of the host rocks (tuff).

While some caves in Australiasia produces powdery minerals from the interaction of bat guano and the chemistry in the wall rocks, at Ruatapu Cave new minerals are formed from the interaction of steam condensate, heat, and the wall rock chemistry. Kaolinite, opal-A, cristobalite, alunite, alunogen dominate the assemblage near the cave mouth. As conditions change further into the cave, tamarugite and potash alum form efflorescences, with lesser alunogen, meta-alunogen, mirabilite, halotrichite, kalinite, gypsum and tschermigite. Jarosite crusts have developed where acid sulphate pools meet ignimbrite wall rock covered in once living microbial mats. Decreases in water levels causes the jarosite to alter to potash alum, akaganeite, and schwertmannite.

Sometimes marketed as Aladdins Cave.

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Mineral List


19 valid minerals.

Detailed Mineral List:

Akaganeite
Formula: (Fe3+,Ni2+)8(OH,O)16Cl1.25 · nH2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Alunite
Formula: KAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Alunogen
Formula: Al2(SO4)3 · 17H2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Cristobalite
Formula: SiO2
Reference: Rodgers, KA, Hamlin, KA, Browne, P.R.L., Campbell, K.A. and Martin, R. (2000) The steam condensate mineralogy of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako geothermal field, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Mineralogical Magazine. 64(1), 125-142.
Gypsum
Formula: CaSO4 · 2H2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Halite
Formula: NaCl
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Halotrichite
Formula: FeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Jarosite
Formula: KFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Kalinite
Formula: KAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Kaolinite
Formula: Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Reference: Rodgers, KA, Hamlin, KA, Browne, P.R.L., Campbell, K.A. and Martin, R. (2000) The steam condensate mineralogy of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako geothermal field, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Mineralogical Magazine. 64(1), 125-142.
Meta-alunogen
Formula: Al2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Mirabilite
Formula: Na2SO4 · 10H2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Natrojarosite
Formula: NaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Opal
Formula: SiO2 · nH2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Paratacamite
Formula: Cu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Quartz
Formula: SiO2
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Schwertmannite
Formula: Fe3+16(OH,SO4)12-13O16 · 10-12H2O
Reference: Rodgers, KA, Hamlin, KA, Browne, P.R.L., Campbell, K.A. and Martin, R. (2000) The steam condensate mineralogy of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako geothermal field, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Mineralogical Magazine. 64(1), 125-142.
Tamarugite
Formula: NaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)
Tschermigite
Formula: (NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2O
Reference: Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ)

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 3 - Halides
Halite3.AA.20NaCl
Paratacamite3.DA.10cCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
Group 4 - Oxides and Hydroxides
Akaganeite4.DK.05(Fe3+,Ni2+)8(OH,O)16Cl1.25 · nH2O
Cristobalite4.DA.15SiO2
Opal4.DA.10SiO2 · nH2O
Quartz4.DA.05SiO2
Group 7 - Sulphates, Chromates, Molybdates and Tungstates
Alunite7.BC.10KAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
Alunogen7.CB.45Al2(SO4)3 · 17H2O
Gypsum7.CD.40CaSO4 · 2H2O
Halotrichite7.CB.85FeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
Jarosite7.BC.10KFe3+3(SO4)2(OH)6
Kalinite7.CC.15KAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O
Meta-alunogen7.CB.45Al2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
Mirabilite7.CD.10Na2SO4 · 10H2O
Natrojarosite7.BC.10NaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6
Schwertmannite7.DE.15Fe3+16(OH,SO4)12-13O16 · 10-12H2O
Tamarugite7.CC.10NaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2O
Tschermigite7.CC.20(NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2O
Group 9 - Silicates
Kaolinite9.ED.05Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 6 - HYDROXIDES AND OXIDES CONTAINING HYDROXYL
XO(OH)
Akaganeite6.1.6.1(Fe3+,Ni2+)8(OH,O)16Cl1.25 · nH2O
Miscellaneous
Schwertmannite6.4.10.1Fe3+16(OH,SO4)12-13O16 · 10-12H2O
Group 9 - NORMAL HALIDES
AX
Halite9.1.1.1NaCl
Group 10 - OXYHALIDES AND HYDROXYHALIDES
A2(O,OH)3Xq
Paratacamite10.1.2.1Cu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
Group 29 - HYDRATED ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
A2XO4·xH2O
Mirabilite29.2.2.1Na2SO4 · 10H2O
AB(XO4)2·xH2O
Kalinite29.5.4.2KAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O
Tamarugite29.5.3.1NaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2O
Tschermigite29.5.5.3(NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2O
AXO4·xH2O
Gypsum29.6.3.1CaSO4 · 2H2O
AB2(XO4)4·H2O
Halotrichite29.7.3.2FeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
A2(XO4)3·H2O
Alunogen29.8.6.1Al2(SO4)3 · 17H2O
Meta-alunogen29.8.7.1Al2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
Group 30 - ANHYDROUS SULFATES CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
(AB)2(XO4)Zq
Alunite30.2.4.1KAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
Jarosite30.2.5.1KFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6
Group 75 - TECTOSILICATES Si Tetrahedral Frameworks
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with [4] coordinated Si
Cristobalite75.1.1.1SiO2
Quartz75.1.3.1SiO2
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with H2O and organics
Opal75.2.1.1SiO2 · nH2O
Unclassified Minerals, Mixtures, etc.
Kaolinite-Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Natrojarosite-NaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6

List of minerals for each chemical element

HHydrogen
H Akaganeite(Fe3+,Ni2+)8(OH,O)16Cl1.25 · nH2O
H AluniteKAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
H AlunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 17H2O
H Meta-alunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
H GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
H HalotrichiteFeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
H JarositeKFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6
H KaliniteKAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O
H MirabiliteNa2SO4 · 10H2O
H OpalSiO2 · nH2O
H NatrojarositeNaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6
H ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
H TamarugiteNaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2O
H Tschermigite(NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2O
H SchwertmanniteFe163+(OH,SO4)12-13O16 · 10-12H2O
H KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
NNitrogen
N Tschermigite(NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2O
OOxygen
O Akaganeite(Fe3+,Ni2+)8(OH,O)16Cl1.25 · nH2O
O AluniteKAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
O AlunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 17H2O
O Meta-alunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
O GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
O HalotrichiteFeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
O JarositeKFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6
O KaliniteKAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O
O MirabiliteNa2SO4 · 10H2O
O OpalSiO2 · nH2O
O NatrojarositeNaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6
O ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
O TamarugiteNaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2O
O QuartzSiO2
O Tschermigite(NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2O
O SchwertmanniteFe163+(OH,SO4)12-13O16 · 10-12H2O
O CristobaliteSiO2
O KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
NaSodium
Na HaliteNaCl
Na MirabiliteNa2SO4 · 10H2O
Na NatrojarositeNaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6
Na TamarugiteNaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2O
AlAluminium
Al AluniteKAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
Al AlunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 17H2O
Al Meta-alunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
Al HalotrichiteFeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
Al KaliniteKAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O
Al TamarugiteNaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2O
Al Tschermigite(NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2O
Al KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
SiSilicon
Si OpalSiO2 · nH2O
Si QuartzSiO2
Si CristobaliteSiO2
Si KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
SSulfur
S AluniteKAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
S AlunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 17H2O
S Meta-alunogenAl2(SO4)3 · 12H2O
S GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
S HalotrichiteFeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
S JarositeKFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6
S KaliniteKAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O
S MirabiliteNa2SO4 · 10H2O
S NatrojarositeNaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6
S TamarugiteNaAl(SO4)2 · 6H2O
S Tschermigite(NH4)Al(SO4)2 · 12H2O
S SchwertmanniteFe163+(OH,SO4)12-13O16 · 10-12H2O
ClChlorine
Cl Akaganeite(Fe3+,Ni2+)8(OH,O)16Cl1.25 · nH2O
Cl HaliteNaCl
Cl ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
KPotassium
K AluniteKAl3(SO4)2(OH)6
K JarositeKFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6
K KaliniteKAl(SO4)2 · 11H2O
CaCalcium
Ca GypsumCaSO4 · 2H2O
FeIron
Fe Akaganeite(Fe3+,Ni2+)8(OH,O)16Cl1.25 · nH2O
Fe HalotrichiteFeAl2(SO4)4 · 22H2O
Fe JarositeKFe3+ 3(SO4)2(OH)6
Fe NatrojarositeNaFe3(SO4)2(OH)6
Fe SchwertmanniteFe163+(OH,SO4)12-13O16 · 10-12H2O
NiNickel
Ni Akaganeite(Fe3+,Ni2+)8(OH,O)16Cl1.25 · nH2O
CuCopper
Cu ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2
ZnZinc
Zn ParatacamiteCu3(Cu,Zn)(OH)6Cl2

References

Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
Rod Martin, Minerals of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako, Taupo Volcanic Zone. Essence of Microscope (NZ).
Cody, A. D., (1978) Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako. New Zealand Speleological Bulletin. 6, 184-187.
Rodgers, KA, Hamlin, KA, Browne, P.R.L., Campbell, K.A. and Martin, R. (2000) The steam condensate mineralogy of Ruatapu Cave, Orakei Korako geothermal field, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Mineralogical Magazine. 64(1), 125-142.

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