Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lava tubes and galaxies

Went with a friend to just this side of Flagstaff off of I80 to what he calls a lava tube. It's a lava cave found by lumbermen in 1919. Didn't get many pictures inside, what I did will be here but really had a one on on with the depth of the earth.
The climb down was startling deep, with the loose rocks; I started by crawling on my backside down into the cave.
(Here's a picture of it on the way up) It was at first cold, but we adjusted to it quickly as we continued. It then leveled out somewhat but with various slopes, crevices, and sometime smooth surfaces we saw how the lava flowed. Wondered what looked like in certain areas river rocks creating a cobblestone effect in certain areas. Heard hollow sounds in certain areas under our feet as we walked, trying to guess at the depth of the hollowness below. Found a few holes that showed no ending as we stood over them with our flash lights beaming down giggling a little nervously. Noticed certain 'fault' lines on both the floor we walked on and in the large slabs of rock above our heads, quickly moving from below them. Found certain spots where water was seeping in, in very small increments and iron deposits coloring the walls where water was not dripping as in other areas but creeping in. The web of white looked like calcite deposits, and created various natural artworks on the ceilings and walls. Of course there was various man made art work from what looked like an owl, to an alien head. We turned off our lights and held our hands in front of our faces and of course couldn't see a thing; I was grateful for the batteries I had in my backpack should I have needed them. (didn't need them). Went almost to the end where it started getting narrower; he asked if I wanted to go on. As it looked like some pretty deep crawling, I suggested we head back as I my ankle started smarting from nearly twisting it several times; all times he had asked if I was ok since I let out a foul word each time. On the way out he found my wallet (which had been in my pocket) on one of the rocks. It was amazing he found it as it was sitting on a rock, next to a deep crevice. All in all that took an hour and a half. When we emerged it was like opening the oven door with a quick short blast of hot air. I noticed on the way out a small cairn.

He suggested getting something to eat in Flag, which we did and then headed to the Lowell Observatory. Sat in on an introductory lecture about what was being seen and then headed to the various telescopes. We started with the old one where the former planet (that is no longer considered a planet) Pluto was discovered. It made me dizzy looking up into the old building and listening as the young student of NAU was explaining to the little boy in front of us how it was built with a weight on the opposite side so it can be moved by hand. The pulleys and wheels were in the walls. We looked at a star cluster which reminded me of a snowflake. Beautiful. Through the smaller telescopes (which resembled old cast iron cannons), Perseus, and Andromeda. BREATH TAKING.

It was an adventure I'd like to repeat with a head lamp, and a lantern to get pictures, but who could ask for more then heaven and earth?!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How cool! glad your out exploring, keep them pics coming it's nice to see something that is just so awesome!