Whitfield School Cave Data Page

Caves, jeweled treasures tucked beneath the earth's surface, offer a fascinating experience for any traveler. Come with us on a voyage to understand these ominous quiet treasure-filled fortresses made by the hand of mother nature that have endured longer than the history of mankind.

CAVE ORIGINS

Unrelenting forces of nature propel water across the face of the earth. Furious and strong one minute; soothing and gentle the next, the waters bring to all inhabitants of the earth precious life-giving fluid. Predictable patterns that water takes mold, shape, and reshape the terrain. Channels in the crust become scoured as water digs ever deeper towards the core of the earth. Deposits of debris travel from location to location in response. The portrait of the earth changes with time as does the life it holds so tenderly on the surface. Yawning mouths of caves protect their secret worlds from surface turmoil, yet also owe their existence to the movement of water.

Droplets of water vapor form around particles of dust in the atmosphere. As condensation of the water vapor occurs in the atmosphere, the mass of the droplets increase. Gravitational forces attract these pellets to the surface of the earth like a giant magnet. Traveling through the atmosphere, the water becomes slightly acidic as it mixes with carbon dioxide on its downward journey. Later, when the water mixes with decaying organic matter found in topsoil, the water's acidity increases even more. Weak carbonic acid is formed (H2CO3). As the acidic water moves through joints and bedding planes in the rock layers of the mantle, it causes some types of rocks to dissolve very slowly. Load that is picked up by water action scours obsticles in it's pathway. Small airated pockets, that increase in size with time, rainfall, and water pressure, become gaping caverns as solution caves are formed. A change in atmospheric conditions beneath the earth cause the water-laden minerals to percipitate out. The pattern of the flowing water largely determines the type formations within the walls of caves.


Here is a listing of files that are available to view: