I love exploring caves and so do Enzoologists! It is amazing what can be found in caverns – how about a saber tooth tiger tooth? From cave bacon to soda straws our episode about caves and caverns uncovers the mysteries hidden deep below the earth.
A Cavern is just a huge hole in the earth’s crust –
There are six basic types of formations:
- soda straws
- flow stone
- cave draperies
Soda straws are formed when water seeps through the earth and picks up animal and plant matter and carbon dioxide. Water plus carbon dioxide equals carbonic acid. When carbonic acid hits the limestone, it eats it! At the same time it picks up lots of minerals like calcite. As the water drips it forms little rings – one on top of another.
When the water evaporates it leaves the minerals in solid form and makes a soda straw or other formation.
They only grow about an inch every hundred years!
Some caves are called living caverns. Not like plants and animals – living means that it is always changing and growing. But if you touch formations, they die. Oil and dirt from your hands make it impossible for the minerals to stick to it.
So Look but don’t touch!
Cave drapery is really cool. When water drips down the cruve of the ceiling or wall it makes a drapery. My favorite kind of drapery is cave bacon!
Stalagtites come down from the ceiling. Stalagmites grow up from the ground.
Caves can contain very pure water. A water pool can look really shallow but it’s not! The water is so pure it acts like a magnifying glass.