Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Black Chasm

Black Chasm Entrance

In 1976, the national Park Service designated Black Chasm Cavern as a Historic National Landmark. The Black Chasm Cavern was the inspiration behind the Zion cave in the second and third installment of the Matrix movies.

The trip down into the Black Chasm Cavern is fantastic. An unbelievably beautiful small set of under ground rooms filled with fantastic natural shapes. We went on a small tour with only four other people.

The formations are exceptionally beautiful and we were told that only 4% of caves (in the world) have this type helictite formations which were everywhere in the cavern. It's a vertical cave, not a horizontal one, so there are no bats that live there. Bats don't like caves like this one, because it goes pretty much straight down after you enter. When they fly in, their echolocation tells them it's very small, with not much roosting space so they just leave. There’s also a magnificent turquoise blue pool at the bottom of one of the caves that is spectacular.

It has some marvelous formations helictites that look like horizontal spaghetti or birds' nest remnants growing straight out of the rock. They are quite beautiful and very unusual. There are a lot of steep steps, with handrails, but you do have to be careful. It is very tempting to touch the rocks as you go under some low overhangs, but you are warned at the beginning not to do so, because they pick up oil from your hands.

The tour takes about 45 minutes and the guides are well informed as well as entertaining. All in all, The Black Cavern is a uniquely beautiful thing to see if you’re ever in the California Sierra foothills.

Helictite close up

Highly recommended!

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