• 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?

Porcupine in tree

Porcupine babies are called porcupettes. When they are born they have 15,000 quills. Porcupettes are born in the spring and, lucky for mom, the quills are soft. They can climb trees within an hour of birth. More...