Stones of the caves

What could be more wonderful and interesting caves? Narrow winding passages, unexpectedly expanding into entire halls, then descend steeply down, then fall off precipices, then turn into narrow cracks. The bizarre form of the caves is mixed with the rustle of bats, and the quiet measured noise of falling drops... But what is especially remarkable in the caves are the stones of the caves their elegant, sometimes lush, decorations, from snow-white delicate patterns, then from tall columns, then from long icicles hanging from above and garlands. White, yellow, red minerals with their sediments cover the walls of the caves...

But what is especially remarkable in the caves are the stones of the caves  their elegant

Among the stones of the caves most often the walls are lined with calcium carbonate - calcite, a translucent mineral, which slowly and gradually precipitates from seeping water droplets. Drop by drop slides along the ceiling and along the walls, and from each droplet on the walls of the cave there remains an insignificant part of this mineral. Gradually, a small bump on the ceiling grows into a small icicle, and then into a whole tube. At first it is empty inside. Drople by drop, falling down, they pull the tubes into long, several meters, thin stems. A whole forest of such vertical filaments of stems, and below, below them, broken off and fallen tubes are covered with fancy branchy bushes of white incrustations... So the stalactites from above and the stalagmites below grow, until they meet and merge together into large curtains, into powerful columns or solid garlands. In some places, petrified waterfalls emerge as if, in others - a shallow young forest, and in the third - whole flower beds of various shapes and shades. It is difficult to list all forms of crystallization of calcium carbonate. And each cave has its own distinctive features.

It would be a mistake to think that the cave stones consist only of calcium carbonate. In Kyrgyzstan, the famous Great Barite Cave is located. Its walls are lined with intermittent crusts of calcite and a heavy mineral barite. Barite envelops the walls of a colossal cave in the form of clusters, cornices and large sparkling crystals weighing tens of tons.

In Kyrgyzstan, the famous Great Barite Cave is located

No less interesting are the stones of the caves in the deposits of rock salt. Here, the water erodes larger caves and halls even more easily, and more likely postpones its remarkable formations - especially often in the form of the same thin tubes and curtains, like from calcite. But sometimes, when crystallization goes slowly and calmly, salt cubes, transparent as glass, grow out of solution either in the form of sparkling small crystals covering the walls of the cave, or in the form of individual giants perfectly regular, water-transparent cubes of one meter or more.

The same huge crystals are known in the same cave in Mexico, where the cave stones are formed not by salt, but by gypsum, found in the form of a peak and needles of three to four meters in length. In separate places of this cave, entire forests and bunches of enormous transparent gypsum formations were observed. Most often, the gypsum in the caves forms white flowers, fluffy moss or a delicate transparent fluff. To do this, you should visit the famous Kungur cave - and you will see a completely unprecedented picture of fabulous, sparkling colors of sparkling white ice. It is difficult to convey the impression of the first diamond halls of this gypsum cave, decorated with large, palm-like, hexagonal colors of hard water.

To do this, you should visit the famous Kungur cave

And the blue-green and red caves of Thuringia!.. There, under the light of electric searchlights, brightly colored sinter of various very rare minerals (mainly phosphates) sparkle on the black walls of large caves.

The stones of the Carlsbad caves in the USA are especially grandiose: they have underground passages and halls stretching for forty-seven kilometers.

In conclusion, let us say that the mineralogy of caves is not yet fully written, and each observer can be of great benefit to science if he studies the stones of the caves, takes pictures and describes in detail their strange forms. But at the same time he should not forget about their protection.

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