Friday, March 13, 2015

Introducing the Caves: Cool Rock Formations

      Amos is fascinated by the rock formations that he finds in Wheston caves.  What do I mean by rock formations?

In caves you will find rock formations that have a certain flow to them, almost like running water that was frozen in time.


Is it really from water?


Yes, some of them are.  Water seeps into the cave and then evaporates, leaving trace minerals.  More water seeps in, runs down over the path that the last water took, and then evaporates and leaves another mineral deposit.  Over time, you have a formation of minerals left behind by the water.


They are kind of like icicles, except the formation is caused by the evaporation of water instead of the freezing of water.


It sounds simple.  And yet the process is complex enough to create a vast variety of shapes and formations.


...Some of which I have no idea how they work.  But I definitely think they are cool, and they are an integral part of the landscape in a cave.

One more cool fact: in some caves, these mineral deposits are still active - still growing.  But in places with a lot of tourists, they are not.  When people touch these formations, the oil on their hands deposits on its surface, creating a "seal" of sorts.  And the formation doesn't keep growing.

Join me next Friday for one of my favorite sets of pictures: the water scenes!

2 comments:

  1. Wow! These are so cool!! And that's so interesting about how in some caves if people touch the formation, it stops growing. Crazy!

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  2. I know! I thought that was fascinating, too!

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