Cave showerheads are a fairly rare formation generally found in tropical caves, but also known from temperate climates. They've been noted in Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and especially from Borneo. They sprout from the ceiling at a seep site. The top one is from a cave in Puerto Rico. The one below is from a cave in Borneo. It is in the form of a hollow cone, narrow above and broad below, not unlike a bamboo Chinese hat. It measures approximately half a meter long and one meter in diameter.

     All surfaces of the Buda showerhead appear to be covered with fine calcite botryoids (popcorn-like nodules), most likely the products of seep water issuing through the spongy matrix of the speleothem. Presumably, the conical shape is due to 1) the downward flow of seep water under the influence of gravity, and 2) the preferential deposition of calcite on the speleothem's outer surface, furthest from the seep, where carbon dioxide partial pressure and humidity are at their lowest.

    The third photo shows a less symmetrically formed showerhead with a bathtub beneath it in a cave in Missouri, the only occurence I know of in the United States and that is not a tropical climate.

At the bottom is a stunning showerhead image from UK photographer Robbie Shone of a perfect showerhead in Gunung Mulu National Park in a cave called Cave Racer, named after a variety of snake that lives in these caves. Robbie gave his blessing to our use of it here in the Virtual Cave.

Cave showerheads should not be confused with simple seeps that often occur in conjunction with flowstone or drapery deposits and which may issue high volumes of water following heavy rains.

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The Virtual Cave

Created: November 19, 1995
Last Updated: May 21, 1996
Author: Djuna Bewley

Modified Dec. 13, 2016
by Dave Bunnell