• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Trail Closure Information

    The Highland Creek Trail is closed. Backcountry Zones 1 and 2 are closed to all off-trail travel and use. The Sanctuary and Centennial Trails remain open to through traffic.

  • Temporary Road Closure Information

    Oct. 18 & 19: NPS 5 and 6 are closed for the entire weekend. Monday, Oct. 20, through Wednesday, Oct. 22, NPS 5 will be closed from Highway 87 to NPS 6. Highway 87 will be closed from Road 342 (Beaver Creek Road) north to the park boundary.

Speleothems - Calcite Rafts

Calcite rafts floating on the surface of Calcite Lake
Calcite rafts floating on the surface of Calcite Lake
NPS Photo by Dave Schnute
 
Calcite rafts are thin sheets of calcite that today are precipitating and floating on the surface of Calcite Lake in the deepest part of the cave. The thin rafts float on the surface due to surface tension before eventually sinking when they become too heavy or when the pool is disturbed. Calcite rafts which litter the floor of some dry areas of the cave are evidence that these passages were once flooded too.
 

More Speleothems:
Boxwork | Cave Popcorn |
Dogtooth Spar | Flowstone/Dripstone | Frostwork |
Gypsum Features | Helictite Bushes

Click here to see a program about the formations of Wind Cave

Did You Know?

A picture of Alvin McDonald in his caving hat.

Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...