We have now entered the third cave on the tour; Timpanogos cave. This area is known as Father Times Jewel Box and with all of the glittering formations here it is easy to see why.
Timpanogos cave is particularly will known for it's abundance of helictites which are relatively rare in most other caves. Helictites are formed by capillary action, which pulls pressurized water through tiny holes or pores on the surface of wall coatings or other formations. Calcite is deposited around the pore eventually forming a micro straw around this tiny hole, water continues to be drawn through the hole and thus the formation grows outward. Branches are formed when the top of the formation clogs during a dry period and water forces its way out through the side of the existing formation. Some geologists have suggested that it is the wedge shape of the calcite crystals that cause the helictites to twist and turn erratically. (*The word "helictite" comes from the same root as the word helicopter and means to spiral.)
This is a close up of the area in the top left of the above photo. Some of the formations pointing out of the wall in this photo are helictites; and we will see many more before leaving Timpanogos cave.
Welcome to Timpanogos Cave!