The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 44 Number 2: 23-31 - April 1982

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Mineralogy of Lilburn Cave, Kings Canyon National Park, California
Bruce W. Rogers and Kathleen M. Williams


Lilburn Cave contains a noteworthy assemblage of at least 11 speleothem minerals and 11 petromorph minerals, an unusually varied mineralogy that reflects the geological setting. Lilburn Cave lies at an altitude of 1585 m on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, in a pre-Cretaceous roof-pendant of calcitic to dolomitic marble in the Sierra Nevada batholith. Sulfide-bearing boudins and partings of schist, hornfels, and quartzite exposed in the cave, a metaliferous tactite zone at the nearby granite-marble contact zone, sulfide mineral aggregates disseminated in the marble apparently account for the diverse mineral assemblage in the cave. Speleothem minerals include aragontie, azurite, birnessite, calcite, goethite, gypsum, hematite, hydromagnesite, malachite, 'wad', and witherite. Petromorph minerals include axinite, azurite, bornite, chalcopyrite, diopside, goethite, hornblende, pyrite, sepiolite, sphalerite, and tremolite.

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