Sunday, February 15, 2015

Geo 1095: February 15, Day 776: Spiral Staircase

To be honest, I don't remember a spiral staircase, but that's where the photographic guide (page 17) says this was taken. I was probably rapt looking at the gorgeous examples of draperies, flowstone and stalactites. If you look at the lower left-middle, you can see where a number of the drapes have been broken off, probably as souvenirs. If you were to attempt that in this day and age, you'd be arrested and charged with a federal crime, so I urge you not to consider it. Though I haven't seen a fixed date, it looks as if efforts to suppress this sort of vandalism date to about 100 to 110 years ago. While regrettable, given a rough knowledge (within a few decades) of when this happened, we can get good information on rates of change in this environment. Towards the end of this set, I think I have a photo of an area with some of the highest speleothem growth rates in this cave system; it is not uniform from one spot to another. Rates of groundwater and air flow vary enormously, which influence rates of dissolution or deposition.

Photo unmodified. May 9, 2013. FlashEarth Location. (Since we're underground, I have only a vague idea where this is with respect to the surface.)

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