Abstract - Deposition of Cave Material in Wind Cave

Loskot, Carole Lynn. 1973. Deposition of Cave Material in Wind Cave. MS Thesis. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. 65 p.


Wind Cave is located in Wind Cave National Park, Hot Springs, South Dakota on the southern edge of the Black Hills. It is located in the upper half of the Mississippian Pahasapa Limestone as are most caves in the Black Hills. Wind Cave was formed by solution of the carbonate below the water table. With approximately 30 miles of mapped passages it is the second largest known cave in the Black Hills.

Sediment fills are found in most Black Hills caves and range from Recent to Pre-Pennsylvanian in age. The cave fills in Wind Cave are clay to gravel size clastic deposits and are basically either red or yellow in color with one consisting largely of white dolomite sand. Some are stratified while others appear to have a random internal structure. Breccias consist of chert, weathered and unweathered limestone, and some red sandstone fragments. The yellow fills are generally composed of silicified limestone and chert fragments while the red fills consist of sandstone aggregates and free quartz.

Sixteen fills were selected for study from 46 fills located around the tourist area of Wind Cave. Samples of fills studied were disaggregated, sieved, and the fraction finer than 1/16 mm analyzed by settling velocities. The clay fraction was x-rayed.

Accessory material in the fills include round quartz grains, calcite, mica, feldspar, tourmaline, hematite, gypsum, red Deadwood siltstone, red-purple Minnelusa shale, and Precambrian schist, hornblende, and quartzite. One sample contained chlorite. Illite is the main clay with minor amounts of kaolinite. Calcite, aragonite, and quartz were also identified in the clay fraction.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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