Spelunking

Trip Start Jun 05, 2007
1
6
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Trip End Jul 26, 2007


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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, June 8, 2007

I woke up at 8AM and visited Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  On the drive in I saw a giant tarantula crossing the road.  When I arrived at the park I hiked a mile down into the cave to a depth of 750 feet below the surface.  It was great because the hike began through the natural entrance of the cave that followed the explorers' route.  The cave was beautifully "decorated"!!

 
 













The cave had begun 250 million years ago from a 400 mile long reef that had layed in a sea that covered this area.  Over millions of years, the sea disappeared and the reef rose above ground but was buried below deposits of salt and gypsum.  Over millions of years, rainwater seeped through and mixed with hydrogen sulfide-rich water to create sulfuric acid which dissolved the limestone and opened fractures and faults into large chambers.

After exploring the cave I returned to my campsite, but at 7PM I traveled back to the cave to watch 500,000 bats fly out of the cave, as they do every evening around this time.  It was amazing to watch their trail into the sky.  I was stunned at how long it took all of the bats to fly out of the cave.
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