The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 49 Number 1: 10-14 - June 1987

A publication of the National Speleological Society

A Stable Isotopic Investigation of Waters and Speleothems in Wind Cave, South Dakota: An Application of Isotope Paleothermometry
Timothy M Millen and D. Neil Dickey, Jr.


Oxygen islopes were analyzed from cave waters and speleothems from the Lakes region, Wind Cave, to constrain possible models of boxwork formation in conjunction with previous local and regional chemical analyses of the groundwaters. Isotopic analyses of waters from Wind Cave indicate a meteoric origin (d18Ow = -12.10‰ (SMOW)). The cave waters are supersaturated with respect to calcite and dolomite, but regionally, groundwaters in this aquifer system are supersaturated with respect to calcite and undersaturated with respect to dolomite. These data support the Ford and Bakalowicz model for boxwork formation by dedolomitization (incongruent dolomite disslution) under phreatic conditions. Calcite-water isotopic paleothermometry indicates a temperature range of 35° to 65°C for boxwork limestone deposition using modern meteoric water d18O values. This temperature range differers significantly from that proposed by White and Deike of 100° to 150°C.

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