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Spelunkers Explore Crystalline Cave In New Mexico

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the caves-rock dept.

Earth 99

onehitwonder writes "New Mexico cavers have set foot — for the first time ever — on a 'river' of tiny, white calcite crystals covering a four-mile stretch of the floor of the Fort Stanton Cave in New Mexico. The privileged few spelunkers who have explored the 'Snowy River' formation say they've seen nothing like it. Not only is Snowy River exquisite, it is also home to some three dozen species of microbes previously unknown to man."

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99 comments

Judging by the picture... (4, Funny)

Adreno (1320303) | about 6 years ago | (#24329527)

... this isn't a cave at all, but a well-crafted hoax by some cauliflower farmers!

Re:Judging by the picture... (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#24332877)

So that's what happened to John Mclean after Die Hard 4.0 - he grew a beard and started doing hip-hop videos on rivers of calcite crystals!

Re:Judging by the picture... (1)

b4thyme (1120461) | about 6 years ago | (#24337353)

Well they have got to do something to raise the price of cauliflower, its been falling for ages!

Beware (3, Funny)

mazarin5 (309432) | about 6 years ago | (#24329531)

Beware of the Vril

Re:Beware (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24331159)

Mods need to learn to science fiction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vril [wikipedia.org]

Re:Beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24335515)

that would take effort, much easier to be an idiot

Hoax! (-1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | about 6 years ago | (#24329561)

I didn't see a rowboat.

Not spelunkers but cavers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24329669)

(USA-specific?) Cavers are low impact and responsible. "Spelunker" is considered derogatory, reserved for yahoos.

Re:Not spelunkers but cavers (3, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 6 years ago | (#24329839)

(USA-specific?)

Cavers are low impact and responsible. "Spelunker" is considered derogatory, reserved for yahoos.

Did you notice where TFA was [yahoo.com] ?

Re:Not spelunkers but cavers (1)

54mc (897170) | about 6 years ago | (#24330779)

Also, TFA called them cavers.

Re:Not spelunkers but cavers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24332191)

Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to...

Hacker, Cracker...

It's all the same thing, right?

Re:Not spelunkers but cavers (4, Informative)

Hairy Heron (1296923) | about 6 years ago | (#24330157)

No, the word is of Greek origin. It's not the fault of the USA if your country uses the word contrary to it's origin meaning.

Main Entry: spelunker Listen to the pronunciation of spelunker Pronunciation: \spi-l-kr, sp-\ Function: noun Etymology: Latin spelunca cave, from Greek splynx; akin to Greek splaion cave Date: 1942 : one who makes a hobby of exploring and studying caves

Re:Not spelunkers but cavers (1)

onehitwonder (1118559) | about 6 years ago | (#24333123)

Huh. I never knew that "spelunker" was a derogatory term. I just like the way it sounds. spelunker, spelunker, spelunker.

Re:Not spelunkers but cavers (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24342725)

"Huh. I never knew that "spelunker" was a derogatory term. I just like the way it sounds. spelunker, spelunker, spelunker."

Another name cavers use for "spelunkers" is "Flashlight Caver".

And guess what the sound of a flashlight caver accidentally falling into a cave pool is?

Spe... Lunk, as in splash.

Re:Not spelunkers but cavers (1)

onehitwonder (1118559) | about 6 years ago | (#24366437)

That's hilarious.

Mod parent up (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about 6 years ago | (#24333825)

The term "spelunker" is indeed reserved for yahoos who don't know what they're doing and cave without regard for safety and/or any respect for the cave.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 6 years ago | (#24341575)

So it's kind of like calling someone a "geek", when technically you mean "nerd", since geeks were the guys in the carnival that bit the head off a chicken.

In Revenge of the Nerds, Booger was the only "geek". The others were all nerds except for the effete African American.

Re:Not spelunkers but cavers (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about 6 years ago | (#24347757)

Yes. Please also refer to difference between "trekkie" versus "trekker." (*snrk*)

In related news... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24329705)

Spelunkers find small furry creatures, and dub them "Twibbles."

Re:In related news... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24329875)

That would be ass spelunkers, not real spelunkers.

Damaging a new find (3, Funny)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | about 6 years ago | (#24329823)

The real attraction, though, is under their shoes.

If these crystals have never been observed before, shouldn't they be observing instead of walking on them?

Why go to the moon/mars? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24329889)

Because as long as we're trapped in Earths gravity well with self loathing pantywaists like you we're fucked.

Re:Damaging a new find (1)

johannesg (664142) | about 6 years ago | (#24330661)

The real attraction, though, is under their shoes.

If these crystals have never been observed before, shouldn't they be observing instead of walking on them?

That's ok they've also never been walked on before. So that's also a first.

Personally I'm more worried about the three dozen species of microbes we've never before encountered. If you read about a mysterious plague sweeping through Mexico and leaving no one alive, well - better get yourself enough water and food and ammo, and prepare to not let anyone near your house for a few months...

Re:Damaging a new find (1)

johannesg (664142) | about 6 years ago | (#24330663)

Ah damn it, I meant to say *New* Mexico...

Re:Damaging a new find (1)

54mc (897170) | about 6 years ago | (#24330775)

There's a NEW Mexico!?

Re:Damaging a new find (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#24330821)

Yup, it's called "California", A.K.A. "North Mexico".

Re:Damaging a new find (1)

edmicman (830206) | about 6 years ago | (#24332425)

It's not quite as dirty as *old* Mexico!

Re:Damaging a new find (1)

CogDissident (951207) | about 6 years ago | (#24334519)

Yet.

Re:Damaging a new find (1)

tooyoung (853621) | about 6 years ago | (#24330943)

Personally I'm more worried about the three dozen species of microbes we've never before encountered.

Yeah, I'm worried for them too. If you read about a mysterious plague sweeping through one of the three dozen species...

Re:Damaging a new find (1, Offtopic)

jamesh (87723) | about 6 years ago | (#24331971)

A recursive sig
Can impart wisdom and truth
GoTo start_of_sig

That looks like an iterative sig to me... no wisdom or truth to be found here.

Re:Damaging a new find (1)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | about 6 years ago | (#24344233)

That looks like an iterative sig to me... no wisdom or truth to be found here.

Good point. It was meant to be funny, though. Also, it's a haiku! How about this one?

Sometimes a haiku
Can be odd or incorrect
Refrigerator

I've been there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24329929)

I've gone in this cave, I've seen the river. I guess that would make me one of the "privileged few". Its been open for a long time... maybe not this section, but parts with the crystals. They are incredible to see and take quite a bit of work to get to.

Protect the cave system (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 6 years ago | (#24329935)

Areas of Fort Stant on Cave are open to those who get permits from the BLM, but Snowy River -- deep in the cave behind locked metal gates -- is off-limits. It's unlikely Snowy River ever will be open to anything but research because of the fragility of the tiny calcite crystals and microbes on the cave walls.

Ahh, I love the irony in the last paragraph of the article. Most of the article seems to be dedicated to lauding those who have walked on the Magical Mystery Floor of iCalcite Crystals... those who have obviously brought their foreign microbes to the fragile ecosystem...

My question is, why is the Bureau of Land Management allowing *anyone* to disturb the system if it's so fragile? Why not send light-weight robots that have been disinfected? It's not like we don't have the technology.

Oh yeah... something in the article about practicing for Europa and Mars exploration. Puh-leeze. Robotic exploration is how we'll explore Mars, even if we put people there. Ditto for Europa. Human life, sent millions and millions of miles, is too precious to risk on non-Earth spelunking.

Re:Protect the cave system (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 years ago | (#24330173)

Human life, sent millions and millions of miles, is too precious to risk on non-Earth spelunking.

As a representative of human life, I hereby volunteer to take that chance. I thin if you put the word out, people would be lined up around the block.

Re:Protect the cave system (2, Insightful)

AllIGotWasThisNick (1309495) | about 6 years ago | (#24330255)

too precious

Ok, more like too fragile/needy.

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

Alsee (515537) | about 6 years ago | (#24331761)

As a representative of human life, I hereby volunteer to take that chance. I thin if you put the word out, people would be lined up around the block.

So, you're saying you should get picked for the mission because you can better squeeze and explore through narrow cracks and crevices?

-

Re:Protect the cave system (3, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | about 6 years ago | (#24330271)

It is likely that they have considered what is likely to disturb the ecology of the cave and what is not. The area has apparently never been completely isolated, and more recently people have been allowed to visit the main portion of the cave. It is therefore likely that the relatively minor bacterial contamination from the exposed faces and breath of the explorers is not considered dangerous. What is probably more important is not allowing large numbers of people to stomp around, break things, leave trash, and change the temperature, humidity, and gas composition by their body heat and exhalations.

Re:Protect the cave system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24331745)

What is probably more important is not allowing large numbers of people to stomp around, break things, leave trash

And poop. Don't forget the poop. You could like put up a sign, 'no pooping - the mgt' or something, but sometimes when you gotta go, you just gotta go.

BRB.

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

albyrne5 (893494) | about 6 years ago | (#24331989)

Ha, I like that little BRB at the end, nice touch.

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

lancelotlink (958750) | about 6 years ago | (#24335267)

About The Poop: These guys bag everything they "do" down there. Nothing gets left behind.

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24342535)

"About The Poop: These guys bag everything they "do" down there. Nothing gets left behind."

That's correct...

We call them "Burrito Bags", and we also use "whizz bottles" for the liquid, and carry it ALL out.

Re:Protect the cave system (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24330331)

Human life, sent millions and millions of miles, is too precious to risk on non-Earth spelunking.

And this mentality is why we will not leave this planet until the second age of man, after the over-protective ninnies have been killed off in pillars of nuclear fire.

Human life is precious, but the reason we have tamed frontiers right now is because before the mid 20'th century, it was also considered expendable for the greater good and survival of the species.

If there are people willing and eager to go to these places, our society should enable them. They could die, sure, and relieve some of our population, and they could also do great things, expanding our horizons, resources, and habitable areas.

Re:Protect the cave system (2, Funny)

drwho (4190) | about 6 years ago | (#24330681)

I wholeheartedly agree. Luckily, many of these people "don't believe in guns", and will be killed by those who do.

Re:Protect the cave system (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24330937)

And each one we send will cost $100 million+. If you want to be a daredevil and pointlessly get yourself killed then go right ahead but do it on YOUR dime not societies. I'll support sending the guy who'll get the job that he was sent there for done instead of going on an ego or adrenaline trip.

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24331001)

And each one we send will cost $100 million+. If you want to be a daredevil and pointlessly get yourself killed then go right ahead but do it on YOUR dime not societies. I'll support sending the guy who'll get the job that he was sent there for done instead of going on an ego or adrenaline trip.

I'm not interested on going on an ego or adrenaline trip. I want to do something truly constructive rather than be crammed into that tiny little box of "run on this hamster wheel doing pointless tasks to earn money to allow you to exist".

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | about 6 years ago | (#24331065)

oooooo hamster wheel!

Re:Protect the cave system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24340275)

You have a wheel? Lucky!

Re:Protect the cave system (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 years ago | (#24330425)

Robotic exploration is how we'll explore Mars, even if we put people there.

 
Given that a human geologist can accomplish in a month what it has take both Spirit and Opportunity years to do... Why would use robots when we send people?
 
 

Human life, sent millions and millions of miles, is too precious to risk on non-Earth spelunking.

What codswallop. Human life precious? There's billions of us, and many more each day, 99.99% of which accomplish little more than 'birth, school, work, death'. A single life risked in remote exploration accomplishes more than all those 99.99% combined.
 
 

My question is, why is the Bureau of Land Management allowing *anyone* to disturb the system if it's so fragile? Why not send light-weight robots that have been disinfected? It's not like we don't have the technology.

Actually, we don't have the technology - robots capable of exploration are heavy and have short operating times (think tens of yards) without being even larger and heavier to carry sufficient batteries or dragging an umbilical cable behind to provide power.

Re:Protect the cave system (2, Informative)

Eivind (15695) | about 6 years ago | (#24331541)

Because putting a human geologist on mars for a month would cost several orders of magnitude more than having spirit and opportunity there for years ?

A human would need water,air,food,waste-management for the duration of the entire mission. And he'd need a method of -returning- from mars (suicide-mission would be politically unfeasible), which makes the entire thing a LOT more complicated than it is sending a robot.

Yes. A geologist with adequate equipment is MUCH more effective and versatile than one of these robots. But putting one there would also be MUCH more expensive, so it would be unlikely to actually make economical sense in the near future.

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 years ago | (#24339483)

So now, you're changing your position - rather than sending people to supervise robots, we'll not send people at all?
 
If you want to talk orders of magnitude - compare the total cost of the Rovers to date against the cost of a month of human exploration. You'll find the difference less than you expect, especially when you consider the actual length of a human expedition will (because of orbital mechanics) be a year or so, with multiple geologists, for very little more than that notional month. Then consider the vastly enhanced science return.

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 6 years ago | (#24334593)

Given that a human geologist can accomplish in a month what it has take both Spirit and Opportunity years to do...

That's mainly because you're presuming that the humans will bring along an entire geology lab and a base station to do their work.

So instead of sending humans (who will spend 99% of their time and money in the harrowing effort of simply not getting killed), send a robotic base station and geology lab instead. Throw in a bunch of rovers to gather the samples for the lab, and you'll most likely get more science done at 1/10th the cost of a human mission.

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 years ago | (#24339549)

Given that a human geologist can accomplish in a month what it has take both Spirit and Opportunity years to do...

That's mainly because you're presuming that the humans will bring along an entire geology lab and a base station to do their work.

That's an assumption on your part - and an utterly and laughably incorrect one. All I'm presuming is the geologist will have a vehicle and the same instrument suite the MER's do. The geologist won't spend days deciding how to move two meters, and can make decisions based on a few moments observations that takes the rovers hours of imaging, more hours of processing and transmission, more hours of writing command sequences, more hours of processing and transmission...

Re:Protect the cave system (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 6 years ago | (#24339911)

All I'm presuming is the geologist will have a vehicle and the same instrument suite the MER's do.

Well, I assumed that you wanted to do something new that the MERs haven't already done. There's certainly no point now in sending humans at 1000X the cost to do what's already been done.

If we hadn't sent robotic probes, your human mission would still not even have launched by now, so we still got the results earlier this way.

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (5, Informative)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24331401)

"Why not send light-weight robots that have been disinfected? It's not like we don't have the technology.

You obviously aren't a caver, and have never been deep in a "wild" cave.

Perhaps you think that caves have BIG "Hollywood" entrances, and have floors that are boulevard flat, and perhaps there is a little "ambient" light like in caves in the movies.

I can safely say that there is currently no robot in existence that can fully navigate most caves (worth exploring) on the planet.

Perhaps small portions of a few, but not deep into them.

I've been exploring in caves where I'm literally two hours from the entrance, and a 150 foot climb up a rope to exit the cave, yet I'll squeeze through a body tight hole just to see where it "goes".

So I'll exhale and push forward an inch, and then do it again, and repeat until I'm through.

And then after exploring around I have to come back through, but a robot would have been stopped by this "tight spot".

Cavers sometimes need to "move rocks" to progress down the (hopefully virgin) cave passage, and I can't see any cave navigable robot being able to move a 100 pound rock, let alone the hundreds of pounds of rock like I've moved many times in less sensitive caves.

Many "serious" caves require a rope drop of a hundred feet or more to enter, and a climb to exit, and how many robots can do that?

Oh, none.

Now lets talk energy... it takes a great deal of energy to navigate a cave environment, and unless you have a looong extension cord no robot is going very far into any wild cave.

And nobody is going to carry a heavy robot deep into a cave so it can "scoop booty"... no way.

It may be decades before humans are replaced as cave explorers on Earth.

Mars is a different story, and all the caves targeted have huge Hollywood entrances, and the "robots" likely won't be entering very far into them at all.

And "big up" to Jim Goodbar, he took us deeeep into Cottonwood 20 years ago.

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (2, Interesting)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | about 6 years ago | (#24333443)

You're thinking of a big robot. We have also invented many types of small, flying robots that wouldn't have to walk on the floor, climb ropes or move rocks to get into a space. Sure, they can't do as much as a human, but they could take some pictures and maybe collect some samples. Even if they only have a few minutes of battery power, they could still go a lot of places that a human can't. These could easily be carried by a human into the cave and then deployed from a "forward position".

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24342221)

Actually, you're in science fiction land if you believe there are ANY robots capable of exploring most Earth based caves.

Go take a "wild cave" tour sometime, and see for yourself what challenges a robot would have to overcome.

I've hauled dive tanks deep into a cave to push a sump, and NO WAY I'm taking in a HEAVY robot.

I'll bet you've never backpacked, have you?

Every ounce matters when it's you carrying it.

In a cave that's multiplied because we have to save the energy to climb out of the cave (as in up a rope, try it, real easy... HA!).

You carry the robot, and we'll rescue you after you've exhausted yourself.

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | about 6 years ago | (#24345167)

Again, I'm talking small robots that weigh in at a few ounces just big enough to mount a small camera, light and battery power for a few minutes. Think more in terms of a remote controlled helicopter than a large rover of some sort.

Oh, and I have "backpacked". I was Marine infantry for 4 years and got to drag around a lot of heavy gear and you didn't worry about weight - you worried about what you needed. Want to know what really sucks? Try doing a field op where they give you a 25% casualty rate and you have to carry the "injured" Marines and all their gear 3 miles. I was hiking with 225 pounds - my weapon, gear, backpack and a 180 pound guy - half the time, and 100 pounds - my weapon, gear, pack, and the injured guy's weapon, gear and pack - the other half. It's slow, but doable.

I've also climbed a rope, rock climbed and dragged my way up a few mountains. No, I haven't done any real caving, but I have done a lot of other endurance activities and, except in races, you don't have to worry about every ounce. It can be a lot nicer when you aren't loaded down, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about 6 years ago | (#24333887)

Ahh, a caver's favorite phrase...

"It goes!!"

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24342127)

"Ahh, a caver's favorite phrase... "It goes!!"

Yup...

Just follow the air...

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 6 years ago | (#24334715)

Well, if it were a contest between you trying doing all that in a bulky space suit before your oxygen runs out vs a housecat-sized nuclear powered robot that could patiently spend months exploring one cave, I'd put my money on the robot.

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 years ago | (#24340983)

How about a housecat android made by Hyundai?

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24342437)

"I'd put my money on the robot".

Put your money on the robot that doesn't exist, and won't, for at least a few decades?

Sounds like a bad investment to me.

I'll bet you play the slots in Vegas too.

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 6 years ago | (#24343887)

Put your money on the robot that doesn't exist, and won't, for at least a few decades?

So you put your money on an equally non-existant human astronaut on Mars. Who NASA allows to go exploring in dangerous caves.

I bet you play state lottery scratchoff games, too.

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24344911)

"So you put your money on an equally non-existant human astronaut on Mars. Who NASA allows to go exploring in dangerous caves. I bet you play state lottery scratchoff games, too."

d00d... didn't you read my previous comment about cave exploration on Mars?

Here, I'll repost it since you apparently didn't read it: "It may be decades before humans are replaced as cave explorers on Earth. Mars is a different story, and all the caves targeted have huge Hollywood entrances, and the "robots" likely won't be entering very far into them at all."

I never said that robots won't explore caves on Mars, reread it, you mis interpreted it that way.

BAH!

And gambling is for sucka's, I take calculated risks.

Re: Why not send light-weight robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24337603)

perhaps the use of robots like this would be more appropriate:
http://www.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.jsp?id=1468ded9-96cb-47dd-aed3-da0a70a34813&lang=nl

Re: perhaps the use of robots like this... (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24342351)

"perhaps the use of robots like this would be more appropriate: http://www.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.jsp?id=1468ded9-96cb-47dd-aed3-da0a70a34813&lang=nl [tudelft.nl] "

Well, that's an easy one to demolish...

Many caves have serious air flow, so where is this toy going to get a lightweight motor and batteries powerful enough to make any headway into/out of the cave?

It's not, it's a research "toy".

Wheres the navigation system on it?

Can't use radio since it basically doesn't work inside caves, so it needs an autonomous navigation system.

Wheres the camera/s?

Wheres the recorder to save the data?

You all can't seem to grasp the amounts of energy needed to navigate a cave system by humans or robots.

Thanks for playing though.

Re:Protect the cave system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24332043)

Human life, sent millions and millions of miles, is too precious to risk on non-Earth spelunking.

No it is not, we waste thousands of lives right here on earth every day. I can guarantee you many of these lives would be better spent on ONE WAY manned probe missions. (not necessarily extraterrestrial spelunking only)

Re:Protect the cave system (2, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | about 6 years ago | (#24334973)

The "crystal" in this cave isn't super-exquisite, fragile crystal glass. It's not the Fortress of Solitude or anything. It's just white calcite. There's calcite all over caves all over the world. The stuff is essentially rock.

The distinguishing features here are that there's so much of it on the floor, as opposed to the wall and ceiling, and that it was mostly unadulterated by sediment during its formation and is therefore a snowy white instead of brown.

The stuff isn't exactly fragile. Bacteria from shoes aren't going to ruin it, but hundreds or thousands of feet walking upon it will physically erode it.

Crystal Skulls? (2, Funny)

AmonEzhno (1276076) | about 6 years ago | (#24330067)

I assume the government has made the right choice and sent Indiana Jones in? You know, him having the most experience in matters of crystalline archaeological matters.

Re:Crystal Skulls? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 6 years ago | (#24330203)

he was busy so they're gonna send in Dr Daniel Jackson. They say he knows a thing or two about crystals lol.

The common sense questions: (4, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 6 years ago | (#24330127)

From the article [yahoo.com]

It took several months for Snowy River to dry out, leaving scientists with another set of questions about where the water came from and where it went.

Well, it came in at one end of the cave, likely uphill from the other end. It then made it's way through the cave that is at the center of this puzzlement. Amazingly, and rather surprisingly it went out the other end of the cave, downhill from the aforementioned uphill part of the cave. That's also the opposite direction of where it came from. Next question please.

Re:The common sense questions: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24331449)

Very funny. But seriously, over these timescales, the topography of the landscape *might* *possibly* change; by way of example, there are cliffs near my ol' university with sedimentary layers that twist and curve, sometimes near vertical, over only a few hundred meters.

Re:The common sense questions: (0, Flamebait)

Alsee (515537) | about 6 years ago | (#24331783)

Does God exist?

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Re:The common sense questions: (1)

rthille (8526) | about 6 years ago | (#24335387)

No. At least nothing exists that matches anything that someone has described both as 'God' and specifies with any precision.

Re:The common sense questions: (1)

Alsee (515537) | about 6 years ago | (#24357967)

Agreed. I was just trying to humorously play off his "Next question please" line, hoping for a similar style answer.
And I got modded Flamebait for it. LOL.

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Re:The common sense questions: (1)

rthille (8526) | about 6 years ago | (#24364615)

Mods on crack, film at 11:00. :-)

Re:The common sense questions: (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 6 years ago | (#24362953)

Of course he does. For the most part. Ask any religious person if he exists. He has been around for a long time, mainly doing nothing much - but watching. Which is a little too convenient if you ask those non-religious types. So, he came along (or always existed) made us (just ask any American high school student) and has basically sat back and observed his (or her) little experiment plod along. Of course there is the other school of thinking that has God as a entity that we created so that we would not feel so amazingly alone in such a large and seemingly mysterious world.

Re:The common sense questions: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24334783)

Much like the Perfectly Normal Beasts.

Ebola's cousin! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24330161)

Yay unbeknownst microbes found in a cave... The Hot Zone anybody?

I guess nobody has noticed (3, Funny)

belmolis (702863) | about 6 years ago | (#24330311)

I guess nobody else has noticed it so I will be the first to point out that this cave is just outside of Roswell. Need we say more?

Re:I guess nobody has noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24330787)

I guess nobody else has noticed it so I will be the first to point out that this cave is just outside of Roswell.

That's just what they want you to think.

Re:I guess nobody has noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24330885)

Are you trying to say that there might be dilithium crystals there?

Re:I guess nobody has noticed (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24331611)

"Are you trying to say that there might be dilithium crystals there?"

Actually, there are "real" dilithium crystals somewhat nearby, found deep in Lechuguilla Cave [wikipedia.org] in New Mexico, in the dilithium pool.

They were discovered over 20 years ago, and I never made it to that part of the cave, but a buddy of mine has photographed them, apparently they are quite difficult to image.

I looked on line for an image to no avail, but they can be seen in the beautiful book: "Lechuguilla, Jewel of the Underground"

Re:I guess nobody has noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24331637)

Oh, you may mod him funny now...

Full headline (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | about 6 years ago | (#24330987)

"Spelunkers Explore Crystalline Cave in New Mexico, find issue of Spelunker Today in a dead end."

Real Full Headline (4, Informative)

mdm42 (244204) | about 6 years ago | (#24331329)

"Spelunkers Explore Crystalline Cave in New Mexico; A Hollow Voice Says 'plugh'."

Women (1)

Alsee (515537) | about 6 years ago | (#24331823)

some three dozen species of microbes previously unknown to man

One of the things I most hate about women is that they're so damn secretive about stuff.

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Re:Women (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 6 years ago | (#24338341)

One of the things I most hate about female sexists: They can't come to terms with the fact that one of the definitions of 'man' is a synonym for our species. It isn't just a reference to a male human.

Re:Women (1)

Alsee (515537) | about 6 years ago | (#24338667)

1. I'm male.
2. Buy yourself a sense of humor.

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'river' of tiny, white calcite crystals? (1)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | about 6 years ago | (#24332053)

I'm no geologist, but as I understand it, a river is traditionally liquid.

Re: 'river' of tiny, white calcite crystals? (1)

omnicron13 (993744) | about 6 years ago | (#24335859)

I'm no geologist, but as I understand it, a river is traditionally liquid.

Granular materials can behave sort of like liquids under the right conditions, such as when large forces are present or when examined at long time scales.

Not that these conditions are necessarily present in this case.

But, while I'm also not a geologist, I believe sometimes a river can be made out of metaphor. :P

Spelunking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24332627)

Bruce Wayne: [about the prototype Batsuit] Tear resistant?
Lucius Fox: This sucker will stop a knife.
Bruce Wayne: Bulletproof?
Lucius Fox: Anything but a straight shot.
Bruce Wayne: Why didn't they put it into production?
Lucius Fox: Bean counters didn't think a soldier's life was worth 300 grand. So what's your interest in it, Mr. Wayne?
Bruce Wayne: I wanna borrow it. For, uh, spelunking.
Lucius Fox: Spelunking?
Bruce Wayne: Yeah, you know, cave diving.
Lucius Fox: You expecting to run into much gunfire in these caves?

Far more impressive crystal cave in mexico (video) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24333699)

The Naica gypsum caves were discovered by accident by miners in Mexico, and are now protected and access is restricted. The impressive thing here is not only the MASSIVE size of the gypsum crystals (in the video you can see people walking across one that has made a natural bridge), but that the humidity in the chamber is at 100% and 50 degrees C. In fact, the crystals are still growing in this environment, and it's thought that eventually they'll end up filling the whole chamber turning into a solid mass of crystalline Gypsum.

The video can be seen here:
http://www.mindat.org/blog.php/193/Naica+Gypsum+Cave

Crystalline Cave(s) (1)

CelticWhisper (601755) | about 6 years ago | (#24334087)

Crystalline Cave? Yeah, I was there when I was 7. C64, Fort Apocalypse. ... What do you mean "different cave?"

Once they get to the end of the 'river' (1)

Archtype (914099) | about 6 years ago | (#24339587)

They find themselves in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike, and maybe a huge green fierce snake bars the way!

Re:Once they get to the end of the 'river' (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about 6 years ago | (#24340809)

"You are likely to be eaten by a grue"

Unknown Microbes? (1)

FreakerSFX (256894) | about 6 years ago | (#24340309)

Unknown doesn't mean alien or vastly different than known terrestrial microbes - it would be nice if a little more detail was included.

At this point it seems like none of the deeply hidden microbes that have been found have been harmful to human life, but that could also be due to the limited interaction with them.

I wouldn't want to get a cut on the rock wall. It is probable that any bacteria would be supsceptible to our normal first or second line antibiotics, having never been exposed to them before but I still wouldn't want to volunteer for first case of infection from a newly discovered bug.

Re:Unknown Microbes? (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | about 6 years ago | (#24342793)

"I wouldn't want to get a cut on the rock wall. "

I've cut myself multiple times in caves, on multiple trips, and I've never contracted anything "bad".

In fact... cavers are looking in caves to find new antibiotics, so it's not the problem you seem to be afraid of.

Cool! A Minnie Driver/Anne Hathaway love scene! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 6 years ago | (#24341653)

"You are in a cave, about 10' high by 15' wide. It smells dank and is dark except for your torches.

You see this foamy looking stuff all over the floor ahead. If is fairly thick. What do you do?"

"I stick out my sword and touch it. What happens?"

"Your sword dinks against it. It is quite hard and rocky. It's actually crystals. Roll a d20."

(guy rolls a 17)

"Ohhhh, god, I'm sorry. You can't find a date for Friday or Saturday night."

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