The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 51 Number 2: 120-124 - December 1989

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Helictite Bushes - A Subaqueous Speleothem?
Donald G. Davis

Several lines of evidence suggest that the "helictite bushes" of Wind Cave grew underwater, probably where localized plumes of thermal water once welled up into ambient groundwater then standing in the cave. In their physics of origin, helictite bushes may be more closely related to features like submarine "smoker chimneys" than to normal helictites. The chemistry of helictite-bush growth has not been investigated, but may involve calcite crystallization by the "common ion effect" where calcite-rich and gypsum-rich waters interact.

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