Showerhead stalactite

Cave geology, biology, and similar topics. Also visit the NSS Biology Section, or the Cave Geology and Geography Section, or the NSS Paleontology Section.

Moderator: Moderators

Showerhead stalactite

Postby Jason » May 23, 2008 12:12 pm

I've been told that there are only fourteen known in the world. Four in North America. I haven't been able to find any information on these and I never heard of them until this past weekend. Is it just a stalactite with water gushing out of it? Is the water flow to fast to grow the stalactite? Any information (even a definition of what constitutes one) would be greatly appreciated.
Infrequent Poster
Posts: 17
Joined: Sep 19, 2006 12:36 pm

Re: Showerhead stalactite

Postby cavedoc » May 23, 2008 11:29 pm

Showerhead formations are rare, but not that rare. Some caves in Souteast Asia could have 14 showerheads apiece. I gather that they are rare outside of SE Asia. Might be a few in Costa Rica too? Here is a link to a nice one, with the corresponding Bathtub formation underneath it. I found it using google image search with showerhead and cave as key words. They do emit LOTS of water when it is raining outside. Some feel that they may have formed around now-gone roots from outside the cave with a substantial tube communicating with the outside of the cave where the root used to be. In any case, they put out a LOT of water. This is not the seepage you might see on a soda straw.
Roger Mortimer
User avatar
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
Posts: 455
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fresno, CA
Name: Roger Mortimer
NSS #: 26529
Primary Grotto Affiliation: San Joaquin Valley Grotto

Re: Showerhead stalactite

Postby Teresa » May 24, 2008 10:24 am

That photo, I believe, is the Angel's Shower at Ozark Caverns State Park, near Lake of the Ozarks Missouri. It is an otherwise unremarkable show cave, but that one speleothem is special.

An alternate to the tree root explanation is that the water is coming through a set of parallel fractures along a joint. Instead of having just one crack as a cave former, the ceiling has a close set series of vertical cracks emitting water, and laying down calcite side by side, forming a shower instead of a cascade.
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm

Re: Showerhead stalactite

Postby fuzzy-hair-man » May 25, 2008 10:29 pm

User avatar
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
Posts: 955
Joined: Apr 6, 2006 2:09 am
Location: Canberra, Australia
Primary Grotto Affiliation: NUCC

Re: Showerhead stalactite

Postby danstraley » May 26, 2008 9:20 am

There is a small one in Climax Cave, south GA, and there are a dozen or more in Juan Nieves Cave in Puerto Rico. They look exactly like an elephants leg and foot with 20 or so tiny columns of water pouring out. Definitely one of the coolest formations I've ever seen. How in the world do those things form? And why does Juan Nieves have so many?
Infrequent Poster
Posts: 17
Joined: May 15, 2008 5:11 pm
NSS #: 48142
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Tampa Bay Area Grotto

Re: Showerhead stalactite

Postby Rodney Tennyson » Aug 8, 2010 7:35 pm

I have seen showerhead formations in three caves here in the Ozarks; the finest one is in the main passage upstream of the shaft entrance of Carroll Cave. Catching the light just right was critical in distinguishing it from just another stalactite. I was drawn to it by how much water was pouring off/out of it, one aspect that seems consistant it their creation.
The other locations were in passages with very strong air flow, which may have been the case in Carroll Cave too, but the passage was quite large and there may have been considerable convection currents near the ceiling.
good caving
Rodney Tennyson
Rodney Tennyson
Infrequent Poster
Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 27, 2006 7:15 pm

Re: Showerhead stalactite

Postby Evan G » Aug 8, 2010 9:32 pm

I think there is one in Carol Cave, MO. Bill Gee pointed it out to me.

Oops, I guess I should have read the previous post. Just finished running 5 miles with my husky "karst" feeling pretty spent right now.
Evan G
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
Posts: 1128
Joined: Mar 12, 2006 2:52 pm
Location: Breckenridge, CO
Name: EEG
NSS #: 28685
Primary Grotto Affiliation: NRMG

Re: Showerhead stalactite

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Aug 17, 2010 10:06 pm

Hey, check out Figure 26.8 on page 220 in the book "Blue Spring Cave" (Published February, 2010 by the NSS).

Is that a showerhead stalactite? Looks like one, to me.

I've also seen one in Indian Grave Point Cave in DeKalb County, Tennessee. It runs most of the time, but it has dried up a time, or two, in severe droughts.

Larry E. Matthews
NSS #6792-F
Larry E. Matthews
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
Posts: 968
Joined: Sep 6, 2005 3:05 pm
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
NSS #: 6792
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Nashville Grotto

Re: Showerhead stalactite

Postby georgekwatson » May 1, 2012 5:09 pm

Time to kick the thread again...
A friend and I recently dove 'Hell's Bells' aka Cenote Zapote in Q. Roo MX and the 'shallow' (ca 100ft) section is littered with showerheads. The diver who originally explored the area confirmed that there is another nearby cenote with more.

Here is a video of the showerheads shot by another diver:
New Poster
Posts: 1
Joined: May 1, 2012 4:50 pm
Name: George K. Watson
NSS #: 58306
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cave Diving Section

Return to Speleology Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users