Park Ranch Gypsum Caves

A Visit to Two Gypsum Caves in the Gypsum Plain of New Mexico, South of Carlsbad

In Three Parts, Each With Multiple Pages

Part 2:      Cave A

Page 2-1:  Moving into the cave

So now we head down to the first cave, A.  The A and B used to be on signs designation cave surveys done for the BLM. The signs are gone but are easily remembered: A is above, B is below.

We will explore A for a time, and the next photo shows the opening, which sits directly above the opening of the other cave, B, which we will also explore, later:

A little closer now, and Oba is giving last minute cautionary instructions:

Now we are in, and those two lights ahead of me are two Vincents looking back and wondering if I am ever going to follow them properly::

Deeper in now, and we meet a small cave entering this larger cave from above:

The cave is comfortable to walk here, it is high and wide and makes surprisingly sharp turns:

When my light first fell on this protruding rock face, It looked like a face, but I detected a smile so did not worry:

The cave now got narrower, but also taller, so no worries:

I had previously thought the dark red veins were iron, rust, but expert advice told me later that this is some of the sulfur deposits in the gypsum, slowly changing as it meets water and air, very slowly, but it is in the rock and still evolving into the rock's cracks from below:

 

This type of terrain went on for quite a while, and then it changed.  

I was quite taken with the mineral array along this little bench, there is evidence for sulfur and some ancient organic matter, and deposition of expanding gypsum growths. Dissolved gypsum seems to be re-precipitating, extending from the major crack along the top of the bench with some secondary minerals below it:

I hear footsteps coming back toward me, better get to the next page.

PART 1:   Introduction

Page 1-1:  General introduction to the Gypsum Plain and its karst features

Page 1-2:  A look around before heading into the caves  

Part 2:      Cave A

Page 2-1:  Moving into the cave YOU ARE HERE

Page 2-2:  Deeper into the cave NEXT

Page 2-3:  A good place to stop and return

Part 3:      Cave B

Page 3-1:  Looking around before entering the cave and coming to a good place to turn around

Page 3-2:  Interesting rock fabrics along the way

Page 3-3:  Merging with other underground streams before the exit

The Vincent Online-Guide to Spelunking Opportunities near Carlsbad

Another set of Gypsum-Plain pages: The Black River

Carlsbad Caverns:  Photos or a Movie (page has links to four movies, one is about Carlsbad Caverns, and has instructions for use)

What made this place the way it is today?  Looking back at the Permian.

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