Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 29 Number 3: 91-95 - July 1967

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Mud Stalagmites and the Conulite
Charles W. Thayer


Morris Cave, Danby, Vermont, contains numerous mud stalagmites and a hollow, cone-shaped speleothem for which the term "conulite" is proposed. The mud stalagmites are thought to originate by the deposition of insoluble clastic material derived from the enlargment of overhead joints, or from flood-borne sediments. This conclusion is supported by the sturcture of the mud stalagmites and the similarity of the X-ray diffraction patterns of the mud stalagmite sediment and the insoluble residue extracted from the wall rock in the laboratory. The conulites form when there is no supply of clastics; a conical depression is drilled by the falling water and is then lined with calcite. This lining is subsequently exposed by erosion to produce the free-standing conulite. Partially developed conulites illustrating this sequence were observed in the same cave.

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