Skip to comments.Just-discovered cave could yield new scientific insight
Posted on 09/24/2006 2:37:01 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
A just-unearthed cave formed more than 1 million years ago could yield new insight into the geological history of the American West, according to scientists, who called the discovery a major find.
Four amateur cave explorers uncovered the vast caverns, stretching more than 1,000 feet into a remote mountainside, in August.
Visitors to the cave, dubbed Ursa Minor, described seeing millions of crystals that shimmered like diamonds lodged in its walls. Translucent mineral curtains hung from the ceiling, and a lake possibly 20 feet deep filled one of the cave's five known rooms.
Passages leading into darkness suggested there was still much more to see.
Geologists and cave explorers said although caves are discovered often, it is rare to find one so grand.
"There are things in this cave that could really open windows into our knowledge of geologic history and the formation of caves throughout the West," said Joel Despain, the park's cave manager. "We're just beginning to understand the scientific ramifications of this."
Park officials will not pinpoint the cave's location, saying only that it is in the Kaweah River watershed and will probably never be open to the public.
Explorer Scott McBride with the nonprofit Cave Research Foundation discovered the entrance to Ursa Minor, no bigger than a softball, on Aug. 19.
That guy needs to eat more.
Underground lake ping
ping...bang bang chip away
Funny how the "Park Officials" have no problem collect a pay check from the public pay roll.
If the cave is on public land the owners should get a chance to see their cave.
Strange that they would use a Viking ship as the logo for an underground lake.
Kaweah River - From Wikipedia
Kaweah River is a river in Tulare County, California, located in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. The river's headwaters are in the Sequoia National Park. The river begins as the Middle Fork, it is then joined by Cliff Creek, the Marble Fork, the East Fork, the North Fork and the South Fork. The river passes through the town of Three Rivers shortly after the North Fork joins the Middle Fork, and then it drains into Lake Kaweah.
Scott McBride, in the red coveralls, and Mike White explore Ursa Minor, the cave McBride found in Sequoia National Park.
Scott McBride, a cave explorer from San Andreas, stands on a flowstone as he examines stalagmites, stalactites and other rock formations found inside Ursa Minor, the cave he discovered at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.
More details in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Magical underground world Just-discovered cave in Sequoia National Park said to house astounding rock formations, clues to region's geologic history
"...Within a couple of hours, they'd opened up a hole big enough for McBride to squeeze through."
"He scooted 25 feet or so down a slight incline, his headlamp lighting the way. He landed in a room so big he couldn't see the other side."
"...They made it to the room McBride had already seen, turned a corner and discovered the passage descended 90 feet straight down. Excited, they rappelled into the void..."
Thanks, Quite the place underground
The Cave Research Foundation is a bit elitist.
They do good work but think that only they can do good work and they work well with the Park Service in excluding others from contributing to exploration and study of public caves.
Note that no specific reason for the cave's importance is given to we the American public. It is they who will decide what is best for the cave and themselves.
Dang. My sentiments exactly, as I just posted before I read yours.
watchout al gore will be claiming he was there 1st.
"The Cave Research Foundation is a bit elitist."
That's probably true, but if you are a serious caver, the CRF is open to join. You'd have to prove yourself and be trusted over a period of time, but it's possible to gain access to these special caves.
Dude, don't be naive. They are technically "public" lands, but just barely.
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