Subject: Forked stalactites in Australia
Read your article on Saudi Caves recently in the NSS News. Saw the pic
of the stal with the "fork" at the end. This reminded me a
of the ones we have been finding on the Nullarbor Plain (a semi-desert
karst) for several years.
We too thought they were calcite until someone had a broken crystal
analysed and found that the outer crystals were gypsum!! I think this
may be the same in your case. The gypsum has grown over the calcite
many years after the calcite has stopped growing.
On the Nullarbor we are now getting the predominant recent formation
being halite (salt formations).
Check out the Gypsum photos at:-
and more Nullarbor photos at:-
Great article and keep up the great work.
Those are great pictures on the Nullabor site, Rauleigh!
And, yes, your forked stalactites look just like the brothers and sisters of the
"ducktails" in Surprise Cave... so we will go back and do another
check to see if that's a gypsum coating!