Spanky’s Paradise – beneath Marmora’s rocky table
There is a lot of calcium precipitation in this area of Spanky’s Paradise – little soda straws forming, rimstone dams etc. One caver who had crawled somewhere that maybe they should not hae said that he had seen cave pearls and another claimed to see sunken calcite rafts. Not having been into heavily decorated section I have not seen those.
If there are formations in a passage it is not unreasonable to suspect that the excavation of the tunnel in that area by running water has stopped. Formations tend to be up near the roof and above waist height, the floor of the tunnel is V shaped – it suggests that running water still scours the bottom of the tunnel but seldom reaches up high.
There are a couple of theories out there on cave formation. Some thinking souls suggest that caves were formed when the water’s of the Great Flood flowed back underground, but scientists usually revolve around the idea of a muti-phase development. Generally speaking there is the idea of formation beneath the water table – resulting in rounded and eliptical shaped tunnels, then formation above the water table – brings on trenches and v-shaped tunnels and lastly – infilling by reprecipitation.
In a nutshell, the solution of calcite takes place by the erosive effects of carbonic acid and its reprecipitation takes place when a super-saturated solution looses carbon dioxide to the cave air. This “gassing off” diminishes the ability of the acidic solution to hold dissolved solids and so they are dropped as cave formations. A splattering droplet falling from the cave ceiling looses carbon dioxide, as water flows over the edge of a rimstone dam it looses Carbon dioxide etc. etc. Solution increases in cooler temperatures and beneath a vegetative cover – thus in heavily vegetated karsts that are slightly buried, cave formation is accelerated.