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Cave development in the Madison aquifer of the Black Hills has taken place in several stages. Mississippian carbonates first underwent eogenetic (early diagenetic) reactions with interbedded sulfates to form breccias and solution voids. Later subaerial exposure allowed oxygenated meteoric water to replace sulfates with calcite and to form karst and small caves. All were later buried by ~2 km of Pennsylvanian–Cretaceous strata.

Groundwater flow and speleogenesis in the Madison aquifer were renewed by erosional exposure during Laramide uplift. Post-Laramide speleogenesis enlarged paleokarst voids. Most interpretations of this process in the Black Hills invoke rising thermal water, but they fail to...

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