Calcite (Inventory)/Mammillary

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The Mammillary field should be used to record any observation of a mammillary crust.

Mammillaries are a type of calcite crust that forms on the ceiling and overhanging walls of submerged bedrock. More specifically, it tends to occur in shallow phreatic conditions near the top of the water table.

When bedrock is covered by the water table, calcite can precipitate and coat the bedrock forming bulbous, cloud-like formations. Similar conditions can form folia, rafts and raft cones so these are often associated with each other.

Mammillaries are rounded knobs of calcite that appear on the ceiling and walls. They can be any of a number of colors depending upon the mineral content of the water. Whites and yellows seem to be common.

Look for mammillaries anywhere you may be inventorying near what once was below a water table and look for the associated speleothem types such as folia and rafts, too.

See also


  • Hill, Carol; Paolo Forti (1997) Cave Minerals of the World (Second Edition ed.) National Speleological Society p 56 ISBN: 1-879961-07-5
  • Palmer, Arthur N. (2007) Cave Geology CAVE BOOKS, Dayton, OH p 275 ISBN-13: 978-0-939748-66-2, ISBN-10: 0-939748-66-5

Mammillary, Calcite

Calcite (Inventory)/Mammillary is a part of the cave inventory project.