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Carlsbad Caverns

Go there if you can! I am unable to find words to describe the features in these caves. The pictures I took do not even begin to convey the beauty of this amazing place.

park-ent (42K)
View of the scenery near the park entrance about 5 miles from the Visitor Center.
formations (36K)
A view of some of the rock formations in the park. These are limestone and gypsum formed in a Permian reef. The brown color is from iron; the black is manganese. This is just above the natural entrance to the cave.
entrance (39K)
The natural entrance to the cave is a steep, switchbacked paved trail. It is not too difficult and it is worth every step. At the bottom is the rest area which is 750 feet underground. There are elevators to get back to the surface.

This is the entrance used by the bats that live in the cave.
flow01 (40K)
Here's a shot of some of the effects of water flowing in the cave. There's a pool at the bottom right of the picture. The "rib" looking things are the beginnings of cave draperies. They are formed when water flows on a slope; minerals are deposited in a line along the flow.

There is shelfstone at the edge of the pool. It forms as pool water evaporates.
stelag01 (39K)
Stalagmites are cave formations thaf grow from the floor up as mineral-laden water drips down and evaporates leaving the minerals behind. These are alive as they are still collecting drips of water.
flowstone01 (50K)
Flowstone, pictured here, forms as water flows down a cave wall; it looks like a stone waterfall.
formation01 (58K) This is a wall with a broken drapery. The color inside the drape is from iron. There is orange flowstone in the recessed area.
stelag02 (30K)
This stalagmite in the foreground is covered with cave popcorn.
stelac01 (73K)
Stalactites grow from the ceiling down. Frequently there are stalagmites under them.
stelac02 (41K)
This stalactite is covered with cave popcorn which can form as water splashes. Popcorn may also be formed underwater or possibly from condensation from the air.
flowstone02 (69K) This is a large area of flowstone. To the right is some gray cave popcorn.
speleo01 (42K) A cave drapery almost touches two large stalagmites.
straw01 (63K) Soda straws are hollow stalactites, they form under certain conditions and eventually fill with mineral. At the upper left of this picture there is a small orange-ish dot. That is an iron-stained center of a filled soda straw.
speleo02 (31K) Here are a drape with popcorn, a stalagmite with popcorn, and a few soda atraws.
lion-tail (66K) This is a stalactite and popcorn that looks remarkably like a lion's tail.
speleo03 (82K)
shelf01 (47K)
stelag03 (42K)
formation02 (53K) This stalagmite is huge! I called it "The Devil's Pinky" at one point. Many of the cave formations were named devil or witch by James White, the original explorer of the cave. Above are many draperies which look brownish because they were very far over my head and my flash is not very powerful.

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