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Caves in South Dakota are mainly made of limestone, which is the most common cavernous rock type. Limestone is composed of calcium carbonate (CaCo3).

Wind cave is famous for the great amounts of boxwork that contains.  Boxwork  is a calcite formation and took its name from these box-shaped voids on the rock (photos a-c) that were formed as the cave walls once dissolved away. These thin calcite blades project from cave walls or ceilings while intersecting one another at various angles.

Photos a and b of Jewel cave show some calcite crystals. As CO2 is lost to the cave air, mineral accumulation takes place and calcium carbonate crystallizes in pools as calcite. The shape of calcite crystals in these photos probably represents scalenohedral or rhombohedral crystals. In photo c, there is a combination of short stalactites and coralloids, which are usually formed after evaporation or dissolution of calcite and aragonite (CaCO3).

                                               Jewel Cave

Calcite formations
a

                                                                    Wind cave

Boxwork
a


b

b

c

c


Cavers and geologists can submit their photos to
Earth Science World Image Bank

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