The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 41 Number 3: 66-69 - July 1979

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Alpine Karst of the Scapegoat-Bob Marshall Wilderness and Adjoining Areas, North-Central Montana
Newell Campbell


Alpine karst of the Scapegoat-Bob Marshall WIlderness is found in three main localities: Sawtooth Range thrust belt, Lewis Overthrust, and Silvertip syncline. Karst occurs on ridge tops and high plateaus elevated by thrust faulting or folding and is limited to rocks of Cambrian, Devonian, and Mississippian ages. In general, the flatter the limestone, the more extensive the karst development. Synclines tend to have cave systems located along their axes. Steeply dipping rocks may have moderately well developed surface karst, but are less likely to contain caves. Any soil or vegetative cover on the limestone severely reduces the formation of karst and restricts it to above timberline locations. Cave systems are usually found at the base of the carbonate section and are rarely connected to surface pits.

Both meltwater and springs, where measured, are undersaturated with respect to calcite. Most of the karst and caves is considered to be no older than the last glacial stage.

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