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Carlsbad, New Mexico Carlsbad, New Mexico Carlsbad, New Mexico Carlsbad, New Mexico Carlsbad, New Mexico Carlsbad, New Mexico
Carlsbad, New Mexico

Amazing Cavern Facts

Giant Column in Carlsbad's main cavern.

The roof of the main cavern soars 256feet (78m) high. The room is so vast that it could hold fourteen stadiums the size of the Astrodome!

250 million years ago, the mountains that Carlsbad is nestled in were a giant ocean reef called Capitan Reef by Geologists. Through the ages the ocean receded and the nearby Guadalupe Mountains were uplifted. Limestone was created as layers of seashells and other organic materials were deposited by this ancient ocean. Millenniums passed and the ocean receded and the nearby Guadalupe Mountains were uplifted. Fractures in the reef filled with salt and fresh water, which mixed with sulfurous gases seeping up from deep within the earth. This combination created a mild sulfuric acid that began to dissolved the limestone deposits and form underground caves.

Exploring lower cavern.

Somewhere between 2 and 4 million years ago, there were massive uplifts that raised and tilted to the west this area, now called the Guadalupe Ridge, with its giant caves. Since that time, water percolating through the ground into the massive limestone caves has deposited limestone and calcite in the form of stalagmites and stalagtites, huge columns of stone that hang from the ceiling or grow upwards from the floor. A good memory trick to remember the difference in these terms is "Stalagtites hang tight to the ceiling, while stalagmites grow into a mound on theground".

The huge boulders in the caverns rest where they fell 4 million years ago.

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