On the topographic map below you will see blue ponds that are identified on other maps as springs. These could be fed by the water which percolates through Prewitt’s knob.  You can also see many sink holes that are characteristic of karst topography.

Description written by James St. John, Ohio State University Geologist. The pictures he refers to are on his Flickr page.

Crystal Onyx Cave is a relatively small, speleothem-rich cave on the eastern flank of Prewitts Knob, southwest of the town of Cave City, Kentucky, USA. The walls of the cave are limestones and dolostones of the Ste. Genevieve Limestone (upper Middle Mississippian).

Crystal Onyx Cave was discovered in 1960 as a sinkhole. The name of the cave refers to the whitish-colored travertine (composed of calcite). Fifty-three Indian bones dating to about 680 B.C. were found wrapped up at the bottom of the main shaft of this cave.

The structures shown above are examples of "speleothem", which is the technical term for "cave formations", and refers to all secondary mineral deposits in caves. The most common speleothem-forming mineral is calcite (CaCO3 - calcium carbonate), the same mineral in limestone, which is the host rock for almost all caves on Earth. Speleothem composed of calcium carbonate is given the compositional rock name travertine. Some travertine forms at the surface, at hot springs or cold springs. Cave travertine forms in many specific ways, and genetic rock names have been established for the many known varieties (e.g., dripstone, flowstone, helictites, coralloids, shelfstone, rimstone, etc.)

© Cheryl Siedelmann 2017