as water drips from the ceiling of a cave, leaving behind small
deposits of calcite. Formations that are created through this
include stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.
Stalactites and Stalagmites: What Grows
from the ceiling of a cave.
As water travels through the air and soil it picks up carbon dioxide,
forming a weak carbonic acid. This weak acid will dissolve the
limestone above the cave as well as pick up minerals in the soil.
enters the cave, leaving small
deposits of calcite where the water is hanging.
Stalactites, which resemble icicles, are
pointed at the end because water will hang from the end before falling
from the calcite deposits on
the floor of the cave.
minerals left in the water when it falls from the ceiling of a cave
will lead to the creation of formations on
They are rounded on top because water will hit the top and then roll
a stalactite -
growing down - and a stalagmite - growing up - join, it is called a
This picture is
a column located in the main chamber. It measures only three
inches tall, but about fifteen feet further down the path is a 40-foot
name suggest, is formed as water flows down the
walls of a cave, depositing
minerals as it goes. Cave bacon and
drapery, or curtains, are two examples of flowstone.
is formed from mineral deposits as water runs down the walls of the
cave. The layers of the cave bacon can take on different colors
depending on the impurities in the water, resulting in the thin layers
of stripped calcite resembling bacon in appearance.
This cave bacon
is part of a larger wall of cave bacon - a wall often called the
"waterfall wall" because it looks like a frozen waterfall.
also known as
curtains, is simply large cave bacon. Due to its size it
large curtains hanging from the cave wall, instead of slices of bacon.
This particular drapery is located beside the cave's largest column.
of the most
unique formations are formed as water seeps through
the pores in the limestone. Onyx Cave is a best know for its
abundance of cave coral, which is formed from seeping water.
forms as water seeps through the pores in the limestone pushing out the
minerals as it emerges.
Onyx Cave is best known for the abundance of cave coral that covers its
wall. Cave coral can be seen on the walls as well as on pieces of cave bacon
and columns throughout the cave.
a special form of
cave coral. They have sharp points, just like needles.
Helictites are twisted
calcite structures, created from capillary action. Water flows through a central canal and pushes out calcite minerals
creating formations that defy gravity.
This helictite photo was
taken at the bottom of a 35-foot vertical shaft.