Abstract - Formation and Description of a Portion of Wind Cave-Cathedral to Elks Room

Bertrand, Wallace E. 1962. The Formation and Description of a Portion of Wind Cave-Cathedral to Elks Room. Geological Engineering Department, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (for partial fulfillment of a Bachelor of Science Degree). 28 p.


Wind Cave lies on the southern edge of the Black Hills. The cave was formed in the Pahasapa limestone by solution below the water table in accordance with the two-cycle theory of limestone cave formation. The most common ornamental feature of the cave is boxwork. Frostwork and popcorn are abundant locally. The boxwork, for the most part, seems confined to the lower level of the cave. The authors mapped a traverse beginning at light 12-14, located between teh Elks Room and the Seal Room on the upper level, and ending in the the Cathedral Room, near light 4-14 on the lower level. The central portion of the traverse is a pre-existion survey. The most crucial ornamentation along the traverse is popcorn. Studies of seven cave breccia samples, collected in this area of the cave, indicate that the age of these breccias predate the present erosional cycle since no Precambrian material was identified. The possibility presents itself that the breccia deposits may have been derived from the overlying Minnelusa formation or from residual material resulting from pre-Minnelusa erosion of the Pahasapa limestone. The problem merits further study. A tourist route could be established along the survey.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747


(605) 745-4600

Contact Us