Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reviewing 'Alien Landscapes': Carlsbad cavern



The following are pictures of (in my opinion) one of the most impressive spaces in all of the US. That is Carlsbad Cavern. The cave system is considered a national monument (like White Sands) and hosts about 110 caves. Carlsbad cavern is the name of both the park and the largest cave in the park. The entrance to the cave is atop a mountain, and the cave extends 750 ft (230 m) down. Once down you enter an amazing space...

These caves were formed by the mixing of hydrogen-sulfide rich waters seeping up from the the base of the mountain and rainwater seeping down. The mixture of these two waters created a sulfuric acid, which ate away at the limestone. You can still see pools of mineral rich waters in the caves.


This is a very unusual mode of cave formation, as most caves form by rain water only eroding the insides. The caves boast an amazing array of decorations: stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and draperies...


The formations are made in the normal way for caves. Rainwater seeping down deposits the mineral it picked up from the surface. Since the cave is now in the middle of a desert, the formations don't grow as fast as they did 10,000 years ago, when it was a woodland area. Here you can see the edge of a massive stalagmite that is still growing, with the area were the water collects and eats away at the surrounding limestone...


The cavern is a most amazing space...

10 comments:

Mira said...

Wow these pics are truly amazing, thanks for sharing. Here's mine http://www.mirasblog.com/2009/03/photo-hunt-9-space.html

Eden said...

WOW, wondeful shots of the caverns. I have only been in Shasta Caverns and have always thought that I would like to visit the ones in Carlsbad one of these days.

The Riverbum said...

I want to go there!

My space pic is at http://riverbum.blogspot.com

jenny said...

That is an amazing space. Most recently I've been to Natural Bridge Caverns (near San Antonio), but I still remember a teriffic trip to Mamoth Cave in KY. They are awesome!

Alice Audrey said...

This takes me back. The last time I was at Carlesbad was about fifteen years ago. I'm seriously thinking of dragging my kids the thousand five hundred miles to go again just to take them there.

marta said...

Cool photos of the caverns. They are so amazing and so like an underground sea. Almost like a coral formation - just not alive.

Leslie said...

I am doing crystals with my class, using epsom salts, and we are looking at stalactites and your blog is just perfect to show them!

NoBS said...

Wow! I haven't visited a cave since I was a kid. I didn't realize how much I miss it.

kaye said...

that is impressive

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