• Grand Palace

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

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  • Road Work at Great Basin National Park

    Beginning July 8, 2014 and continuing through the end of August there will be road work at Great Basin National Park on paved roads throughout the park. Delays of 10 minutes or less may occur. Updated 7/29/2014 More »

  • Astronomy Programs on Hold

    Astronomy programs are on hold while a safety review is completed for visitor and staff safety. Check back soon for an update when the programs will start again. More »

Moonmilk (Hydromagnesite)

moonmilk deposits
Moonmilk deposits seen along the 90 Minute Tour of Lehman Caves.
NPS PHOTO Scott babinowich
 
Moonmilk: The Healing Power of Caves
Moonmilk is a white formation that looks like powder when dry or cottage cheese when wet. There is a lot of it in the Rocky Road and on the ceiling in the Inscription Room. Moonmilk can be a combination of different (mostly carbonate) minerals. Some common minerals composing moonmilk are calcite, aragonite and hydromagnesite. Humans have used moonmilk as medicine to stop bleeding, induce a mother's milk, and for ulcers. There are several theories for the formation of moonmilk. One is that bacteria play a role in its origins. Another is that the moonmilk is deposited directly from water the same way other speleothems are, but for some reason the crystals never grow large or connected.

Did You Know?

Golden Eagle

Migrating raptors, traveling south from breeding grounds north of the Great Basin Desert, concentrate along the Goshute Range in Nevada. Favorable migration conditions attract one of the largest known concentrations of migrant raptors in western North America.