• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Speleothems - Flowstone/Dripstone

Flowstone, stalactities, stalagmites and columns
Flowstone, stalactites, stalagmites and columns in Fairy Palace
NPS Photo
 

Where the deposition of calcite is concentrated along cracks, calcite is deposited as flowstone, or dripstone. Dripstone includes such features as stalactites and stalagmites, speleothems common in many limestone caves but relatively rare at Wind Cave. The comparative scarcity of these features in Wind Cave is another puzzle for geologists. Perhaps a lack of water would explain it. Alternately, the difference may be the way the water passes through the rock. Rather than just flowing along cracks, much of the water which enters Wind Cave today passes more-or-less uniformly through the rock by seeping between pore spaces. Consequently, when the water reaches the cave it coats the cave walls with a frosting-like layer of calcite rather than concentrating the calcite only along cracks.

 

More Speleothems:
Boxwork | Calcite Rafts | Cave Popcorn |
Dogtooth Spar | Frostwork |
Gypsum Features | Helictite Bushes

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

Did You Know?

Natural Entrance of Wind Cave

Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.