Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kartchner Caverns

We're headed down to Kartchner Caverns State Park today. Cavers Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts discovered the cave system in 1974 while looking for caves in the Whetstone Mountains. It didn't become a state park until 1988.

We've done the Rotunda/Throne tour, but the Big Room tour was unavailable when we went. Bats use that part of the cave for breeding and tours stop to prevent disturbing them.

Here are some interesting facts about the caverns. They're home to:
  • one of the world's longest soda straw stalactites: 21 feet 3 inches (Throne Room)
  • the tallest and most massive column in Arizona, Kubla Khan: 58 feet tall (Throne Room)
  • the world's most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk (Big Room)
  • the first reported occurrence of “turnip” shields (Big Room)
  • the first cave occurrence of “birdsnest” needle quartz formations
  • many other unusual formations such as shields, totems, helictites, and rimstone dams.

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