Last weekend, on our return trip from vacationing in Georgia, we had the opportunity to stop at Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I have never toured the caverns… They were absolutely spectacular! So this week, instead of merging unlikely subjects in my photography, I could not resist sharing some of our pictures from the tour…
Stalactites & stalagmites finally merge to form a pillar as a result of crystallized deposits accumulating over hundreds of thousands of years.
Just to give you an idea of how amazing this cavern is, here is a brief synopsis on how these formations occur… Very simply, the cave deposits are formed by small trickles of rain water that pick up diluted carbonic acid as it seeps through decaying vegetation in the soil, and into the rocky cavern below. This combined with the cave’s atmosphere, creates a formula for lime precipitation to build in rings that eventually form the long stalactites from the ceiling. As the deposits then travel down to the floor of the cave, the same process occurs in reverse, where a stalagmite is built up from the ground. New deposits actively accumulate at the rate of one cubic inch in 120 years!!! Over the course of thousands, even millions of years, these stalactites growing downward and stalagmites building upward merge to form a column or pillar, resulting in amazing natural stone formations.
These photographs do not adequately convey the majesty of this cavern… definitely a must-see for any traveler!!!
A draped translucent calcite form of “Saracen’s Tent” at Luray Caverns, Virginia.
This double column formation is one of the largest in the caverns, standing 47 feet tall in the 60 foot high chamber of “Giant’s Hall”.
“Dream Lake” is no more than 18 – 20 inches deep and covers an area more than 2000 square feet. With no movement of the water, its mirror-like quality reflects the stalactites dropping down from the ceiling of the cave.
The “Wishing Well” appears to have a depth of 3 – 4 feet, but is actually closer to 6 – 7 feet at its deepest point. Over $898,000 have been collected and donated to charities since 1954!!!
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