Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crystal Lake Cave

Our plans Monday were to visit the art museum of Dubuque.  We should have been wise to the fact that most museums are closed on Mondays!  We quickly changed our plan and drove 3 miles south of town to Crystal Lake Cave.  About a month ago we had seen Mammoth Cave and were not quite ready to see another cave, but as we discovered, this one is much different.  In Mammoth Cave we climbed up and down many staircases and entered large cavernous rooms.  In Crystal Lake we descended only once, and walked through narrow passageways.  The latter cave is also a very wet cave with water dripping down on us, and muddy floors.  Crystal Cave has many springs seeping into it, according to our guide.  He can be seen below bending under a very large brown onyx-shaped bell.
In 1868 a group of lead miners drilled 40 feet into the ground to find traces of a rich vein.  They found very little, but instead discovered a natural cave with rooms and passageways lined with stalagmites and stalactites.  The Chandelier, pictured below is a cluster of stalactites which are still active and growing.
The cave has formations known as anthodites (cave flowers) which are a rare form of aragonite crystals.  They are found in only two known caves in the United States, Crystal Cave being one of them.
Remember the Biblical story of  the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah?  Lot's wife looked back on the burning cities and became a pillar of salt.  She can now be seen in Crystal Cave.
This caves also has bats which as yet do not have the white-nose fungal disease.  We saw a couple of them as we walked through the cave.  I think Crystal Cave is one cave I will not forget because of its many formations, it was fortunate for us that the art museum was closed!

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