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My 2012 South Dakota Trip

Exploring the Black Hills of South Dakota.

We are now embarking on an underground tour of JEWEL CAVE, located in Custer in the Black Hills.

We are going deeper into the cave.

At 140 miles, Jewel Cave is the second longest cave in the world. It is filled with calcite crystals and other wonders that make up the "jewels" of Jewel Cave National Monument. The cave's current length is: 140.80 miles.
The primary resource of Jewel Cave National Monument is the cave itself. Jewel Cave is a unique world of sparkling calcite crystals, delicate strands of gypsum, and other spectacular cave formations. It contains large rooms strewn with boulders, tight crawlways, and dark fissures leading into the unknown. The elevational range within Jewel Cave spans 631 feet. This is its official "depth." The highest point in the cave is 5,406 feet above sea level, and the lowest point is at 4,775 feet. The cave's depth below the surface varies a great deal. The cave intersects the surface in Hell Canyon, at the only natural entrance. The deepest point in the cave is 749 feet below ground.
Recent exploration trips have focused on the southeastern area of the cave, where many "leads" (unexplored passages) and strong airflow exist. Airflow within the cave is the single best indicator that large areas of the cave have yet to be discovered. Due to changes in barometric pressure, strong winds blow through Jewel Cave's passages miles from the natural entrance.
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Comments on this photo:

Oct 03 2012 04:58 GMT PhotoPro PRO
these are so surreal - I've always loved caves, went to Meramac Caverns (a hide-out for Jesse James!) nears here many times growing up and Natural Bridge Caverns + Cascade Caverns near Austin TX
Oct 03 2012 05:47 GMT Foggydew
Oct 03 2012 07:01 GMT ThorBeverley PRO
Great mood in this picture John - I look forward to seeing more of these caves.
Oct 03 2012 07:22 GMT senna3
Wonderful rock colours, perhaps a bit helped by the lightning?
Oct 03 2012 11:13 GMT Bellavista
the cave is very interesting with this lighting!
Oct 03 2012 11:35 GMT Papagena
Just fantastic John !! Great to share this visit with us !! ;°)
Oct 03 2012 13:34 GMT wijnie58
Wonderful colours indeed..:-))
Oct 03 2012 14:40 GMT hans55 PRO
fantastic colors !!