drapery

When a drop of water runs sinuously down the slanted ceiling of a cave, it leaves behind a minute record of its passing in the form of a microscopic trail of calcite or aragonite. When other drops follow this original trail and deposit their own particles, over vast periods of time they form a delicate folded curtain of minerals that may descend as much as twenty-five feet and can be thin to the point of translucence. This speleothem, or cave feature, is called drapery. As the water enters the cave and its atmosphere, calcium compounds evaporate out, adding to the drapery feature. When such formations include distinct bands of color, usually a reddish cast from iron, they are referred to as bacon rind. Spectacular examples of this formation may be seen in the Drapery Room of Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.

Charles Frazier