Calcite Speleothems

“Soda straw” calcite speleothems from Crystal Cave near Spring Valley in Pierce County, Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy Eric McMaster, Crystal Cave.)



Speleothems are precipitates, usually made of calcite, in caverns. They should be conserved and not be collected from caves in order to preserve the caves’ beauty, interest and scientific values.

CRAWFORD COUNTY: Abundant speleothems and cave onyx may be seen in Kickapoo Indian Caverns, a commercial cave near Wauzeka.
—Travertine was reportedly abundant in layers up to 1 cm. thick at the Bridgeport Cave in the SE 1/4 NE 1/4 Sec. 2T.6N R. 6W (Cronin, 1970).

DANE COUNTY: Lange’s Cave near Blue Mounds in the S 1/2 SW 1/4 NW 1/4 Sec.6 T.6N R.6E contains “numerous stalactites up to 15 inches long and stalagmites 1 foot in diameter” (Frater, 1966).
— Richardson’s cave near Verona in the SW 1/4 NE 1/4 NE 1/4 Sec. 5 T.6N. R.8E contains soda straws, stalactites and bacon strips (Frater, 1966).
— Abundant cave coral and flowstone can be found in caves in the SW 1/4 SE 1/4 SW 1/4 Sec.6 T.7N R.6E near Blue Mounds (Frater, 1966).
— Abundant speleothems of all kinds including large stalactites, stalagmites, helectites, rimstone and cave pearls can be found in the Cave-of-the-Mounds commercial cave near Blue Mounds (Pond, 1945, 1964).
— Flowstone occurs in Wittwer’s Fissure in the SE 1/4 SE 1/4 SW 1/4 Sec. 13 T.7N R>6E near Black Earth (Frater,1966).
— Large stalactites are found in “Cleveland’s cave” (Lapham, 1877).

GRANT COUNTY: Flowstone occurs in a cave later converted into the St. John lead mine in Potosi (Murdry, 1978).

GREEN COUNTY: A cave in Adamson’s quarry near Monticello in the SE 1/4 Sec. 11 T.3N R.7E was breached during quarry operations, throwing many speleothems onto the quarry floor. By 1967 a 50 foot section of the quarry wall covered with flowstone remained (Frater, 1967).

IOWA COUNTY: Speleothems including soda straws up to 18 inches long in Apple Hill Cave were exposed in a quarry NW SE SE Sec. 3 T.7N R.3E near Governor Dodge State Park (Cronin and Frater, 1974).
— Short stalactites and a few helectites occur in Blue Mounds State Park Cave, SW NW SE Sec.1 T.6N R.5E near Barneveld (Cronin and Frater, 1974).

MANITOWOC COUNTY: Flowstone and other formations occur in the caves in Maribel Caves County Park. These caves are in a protected state natural area and are currently (2007) being exposed as spelunkers excavate the subsequent Quaternary fill.(WSC notes).

PEPIN COUNTY: Flowstone slabs several cm. thick with small stalactites and stalagmites are found in a small abandoned quarry in the NW 1/4 NW 1/4 Sec. 18 T.25N R.14W east of Plum City (WSC notes).
— Travertine slabs up to 5 cm thick occur in a quarry on Hwy J North of Stockholm, NW NW Sec. 7 T.23N R.15W fluoresces and phosphoresces. Blue son(WSC field notes).

PIERCE COUNTY: Crystal Cave, a commercial cave west of Spring Valley contains abundant stalactites, soda straws, stalagmites, columns, helectites, bacon strips, rimstone, cave pearls and flowstone, especially in the cave’s third level (WSC notes).
— Travertine and small stalactites and stalagmites may be found in caves exposed in roadcuts along Pierce County in the SW 1/4 NE 1/4 NE 1/4 Sec. 11 T.25N R.15W west of Diamond Bluff (WSC notes).
— Small caves with flowstone and small stalagmites is found in the quarry near Hager City on County W in the NW 1/4 Sec. 35 T.25N R.18W (W.S.C. notes).

RICHLAND COUNTY: Soda straw stalactites occur in Bogus Cave in the NE SW Sec. 35 T.9N R.1E near Richland Center (Durst, 1974).
—Eagle Cave south of Richland Center (NW Sec. 19 T.9N R. 1W) contains excellent speleothems including stalagmites, stalactites, draperies, columns, rimstone, popcorn and flowstone. One formation, known as “Paul Bunyon’s toadstool” is a flowstone formation over 10 meters in diameter (Durst, 1974).
—Grunt Cave in the NW SW SE Sec. 19 T.9N R.1E contains flowstone and cave coral (Cronin, 1970).
—Taylor Pit Cave in the NE SE SW Sec.20 T.10N R.1W near Richland Center contains beautiful speleothems including stalactites, soda straws, popcorn, bacon rind and helectites, especially in its entrance room (Durst, 1974).
—John Grey (or Squirrel) Cave in the SW NE SE Sec. 25 T.11N R.1E north of Richland Center contains soda straws and bacon rind speleothems especially in its outer room (Durst, 1974).
—Pop’s Cave in the NE SW SE Sec. 34 T.11N R.2W near Bosstown contains a large range of stalactites, stalagmites, popcorn, soda straws and flowstone. The largest stalagmite has been removed three times by vandals. Two times it has been found and replaced in the cave. It may now be lost for good (Durst, 1974).

ST. CROIX COUNTY: Numerous soda straws up to 1 cm. long can be found in a cave along Cady Creek in the NE SE NE Sec. 34 T.28N R.15W (Frater, 1970).
—Cady Creek Cave, a complex maze cave contains flowstone, stalagmites up to 10 cm. in diameter, abundant soda straws and stalactites, north of Spring Valley (Frater, 1970).

SAUK COUNTY: Bear Creek Cave, a cave near Plain contains soda straws, stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone (Gietkowski, 1972).

VERNON COUNTY: Calcite is abundant as speleothems including cave coral, rimstone, lily pads and helectites in a quarry cave called “Calcite Cranberry Cave” near Hillsboro (Poster, 1965).