Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 27 Number 4:151-152 - October 1965

A publication of the National Speleological Society

A Hypothesis for the Formation of Rimstone Dames and Gours
William W. Varnedoe, Jr.


Rimstone dams, common in hot spring deposits and often found in cave streams, are thin, dam-like structures oriented at right angles to stream flow and growing vertically, with their top edges horizontal. Supersaturation in the depositing waters is a prerequisite for rimstone formation. Once supersaturation has been attained, rimstone growth may be triggered by 1) transition from laminar to turbulent flow, 2) transition from subcritical to supercritical flow at Froude Numer = 1, or 3) the writer's hypothesis, that an increase in velocity over an obstruction causes a decrease in internal pressure and resultant degassing of the solution, resulting in the buildup of vertical dams.

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