Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico

05 Jun

Carlsbad was our third stop in New Mexico, after Santa Fe and Albuquerque. We arrived at the KOA in Carlsbad on Monday June 3rd and left for Texas on Friday June 7th, 2013.

The main attraction in Carlsbad are the caverns at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Philippe was very excited as in addition to a marvelous field trip, he collected his 4th Junior Ranger badge. The first one was from Grand Canyon, AZ, the second from Zion in Utah, the third one from La Mesa Verde in Colorado and now this one.

Carlsbad Caverns are considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. After our visit I had to agree with this statement. I was so overwhelmed with wonder that I told my family that if our journey had to stop there, I would be very content!!

The rock containing Carlsbad Cavern was formed by a reef around 250 million years ago. I do realize that some of you may disagree with this statement but I am only reflecting our tour narrative. There were three major environments in the reef that controlled the kind of organisms living there and the type of rock that was left behind. These reefs were formed from corals, calcareous sponges and algae along with bryozoans, bivalves, marine snails and various micro organisms. The story of the formation of the cavern goes on and on but let’s get to the essential before you get too bored. Between x and y million years ago, hydrogen-sulfide-rich waters (H₂S) began to migrate through deep fractures in the rocks from oil and gas fields surrounding the ancient reef. This water mixed with rainwater moving downward through the rock. During mixing the H₂S combined with the oxygen carried by the rainwater and formed sulfuric acid (H₂S04). This acid dissolved the limestone along fractures and folds in the rock to form Carlsbad Cavern. This process left behind massive gypsum deposits, clay and silt as evidence of how the cave was formed.

I hope that you will enjoy the pictures below. These are a small samples of what I took as I have 924 pictures of the Cavern. Sabrina told me that she does not want to see a camera flash for a long time!

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 005

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 016

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 018

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 052

At the ceiling you can notice the formation of what’s called cave popcorn. Cave popcorn are circular formations that look like caramel popcorn!!

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 055

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 061

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 073

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 108

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 124

At that point we entered what’s called The Big Room. This is the largest known natural limestone chamber in the Western Hemisphere. The floor space in the Big Room is estimated at more than 600,000 square feet. The pictures below were taken from The Big Room.

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 161

Below is a picture of draperies. A drapery is a sheet like stalactite that forms along a crack in the ceiling.



Carlsbad Caverns, NM 172

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 183

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 195

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 219

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 230

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 247

A column is when a stalagmite and a stalactite have grown together.

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 257

Below on the right hand side, is the column of the Giant Dome. Its height is 62 feet (19 meters) above the trails. On the left hand side of the Giant Dome are the Twin Domes. These are stalagmites of  58 feet above trail (18 meters).

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 264

What you see on the picture below are three massive Speleothems – the largest in the cave. These giants began as small deposits on the cavern floor. Gradual accumulation of calcite from dripping water caused them to grow in height and girth.

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 271

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 281

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 287Carlsbad Caverns, NM 410

The wire ladder that you see below was installed in 1924 during a 6 month exploration and survey sponsored by the National Geographic Society. Built by Jim White (a young cowboy who found the entrance of the cave back in 1898) the ladder descents 90 feet into the Lower cave.

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 424

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 585

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 632

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 728

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 730

Trying to resuscitate after spending 4 hours at 1000 feet below the surface!

Carlsbad Caverns, NM 741

Back to our KOA located in the middle of nowhere in the desert! It was actually a great KOA voted the best in New Mexico. As space was not lacking, our site was very large. Due to its rather isolated location, this KOA was serving dinner either at the restaurant or delivered at your site. A shop was available and the staff were extremely helpful. I would recommend staying there if you are planning to visit the cavern.

Philippe  at Carlsbad KOA, New Mexico 585

Arrival at Carlsbad, New Mexico 587Arrival at Carlsbad, New Mexico 590

Arrival at Carlsbad, New Mexico 593

Arrival at Carlsbad, New Mexico 594

Arrival at Carlsbad, New Mexico 607


Posted by on June 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico

  1. Mary Kaye

    June 12, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Hi guys!!!
    We MISS YOU!!!!!! When are you drifting home??
    You all look good! Tom and I visited
    Carlsbad Caverns! So magnificent!
    Our God is amazing, isn’t He!
    Love all the pics and the narration by Muriel us like having our own tour guide…with a French accent!!!
    Tell Phillipe the pool lounge chair looks comfy!
    Sabrina looks So Grown up!
    How is work for you and Jonathan!?
    Miss you all! Please come home one day?????

  2. Michelle McCormick

    September 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Love all this pics and catching up on your blog!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: