• Grand Palace

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

Flowstone

Flowstone seen in profile

A profile, or side view of flowstone deposits near the exit tunnel

NPS PHOTO

Flowstone: Waterfalls of Stone
Flowstone is one of the most common forms of cave formations, and is found throughout Lehman Caves. Usually, flowstone is composed of calcite, but can also be formed by other carbonate minerals. The formation process involves water flowing along the walls or over the floor of a cave passageway, creating sheetlike deposits of calcite in the wake of the water.

Minerals including calcium carbonate, aragonite, gypsum, and other minerals are dissolved in teh water and are despoited when the water degasses and releases carbon dioxide. The flowstone forms when thin layers of these deposits build up over time. Flowstone can easily be seen along the guided tours in the Wedding Chapel, The Lodge Room, and along the exit tunnel, where blasting has given us an idea of what flowstone looks like in profile.

Did You Know?

non-native plant, cheatgrass

One of the major ecological threats to the sagebrush-dominated Great Basin ecosystem is the introduction and spread of dozens of species of non-native plants. The most important of these, cheatgrass (or downy brome) covers the largest area: 25 million acres, one-third of the area of the Great Basin.