Minerals Found in Wind Cave
Calcite - In Wind Cave, calcite is found in a wide variety of forms. Most commonly it is found in boxwork. It is also found as spar, both nailhead and dogtooth varieties, as flowstone, stalactites, stalagmites, columns, popcorn, tower coral, rafts, coatings, siltsicles, conulites, hoods, poolfingers, moonmilk, pearls, helictites, helictite bushes, false floors, and draperies.
Endelilite - there is one unconfirmed reported location for this mineral west of the Club Room. It is in the form of a coating.
Gypsum - In Wind Cave, gypsum is found in a variety of forms. It has been found as crusts, flowers, starbursts, needles, luster, and cotton.
Hematite - Found as inclusions in calcite spar and boxwork and occasionally as individual crystals 1-3 mm. Responsible for the coloration of the boxwork. Also found as pseudomorphs after iron pyrite crystals.
Huntite - this has been found as moonmilk in Snowdrift Avenue.
Hydromagnesite - This is most commonly seen as moonmilk, but we have one, possibly two balloons in Wind Cave.
Ice - Ice has been noted around the Natural Entrance area and was seen in the form of stalagmites, frostwork, and stalactites.
Manganese - Exists in small quantities as dendrites, "pepper", or thin layers. Often found in the Upper Middle Level of the cave.
Mirabilite - Found as a crust of 1 cm long crystals.
Quartz - Found in several places in the cave, usually associated with chert in the Upper Middle Level of the cave. It typically is a crust of druzy crystals over chert or calcite. The Crown Jewels, Rome, and the Bed of Nails are a few of the locations where it covers iron-fixing bacterial filaments. It often occurs as thin-walled bulbous structures in the Upper Middle Level of the cave that are called Quartz Rinds. It is also present in the thin white powdery crusts found in the upper levels of the cave.
Romanechite - To date this mineral has only been found in one location in Wind Cave, in a paleofill pocket on the western edge of the cave in a place called Navidad.
Did You Know?
Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...