Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel


  • Joachim Reitner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_152


Bergmilch; Lac lunae; Lac montanum; Mannmilch; Mondmilch; Montmilch; Mundmilch


Moonmilk is a carbonate deposit that occurs within various subterranean systems. Moonmilk has a white to gray color and, in contrast to rigid cave deposits ( speleothems) such as stalactites and stalagmites, exhibits a soft, muddy texture of microcrystalline aggregates. These aggregates are mainly composed of calcite, and to a lesser extent of aragonite, monohydrocalcite, hydromagnesite, sulfates, and nitrates (Martínez-Arkarazo et al., 2007; Richter et al., 2008; Cañaveras et al., 2006; Borsato et al., 2000). The calcite shows an aragonite-like needle form (“lublinite”), which is normally associated with soil bacteria. The crystal needles have a diameter of about 0.1 µm and a length of ca. 8–10 µm. The name “moonmilk – Mondmilch” is derived from the name of a cave, “Mondmilchloch,” located at the Pilatus mountain (Emmental Alps, Switzerland) (Fischer, 1988).

Geobiological implications



Extracellular Polymeric Substance Fungal Mycelium Organic Remains Crystal Needle Microbial Mineralization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Reitner
    • 1
  1. 1.Geobiology Group Geoscience CenterUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany