It is noticeably cleaner and white than speleothems in the previous passageways. A debris-filled passageway behind the Bridal Chamber went unnoticed for many years.
Several decades ago, spelunkers started moving the debris, and squeezed through an extremely narrow hole (which would have caused me to become unhinged, given my tendency towards claustrophobia in certain situations). Luckily, they kept the room a secret for years, safe from vandalism, before preparing the cave for public tours.
It was standard practice in the old days to break off stalactites as souvenirs, and to use a cavern wall as a register.
This fact is what makes California Caverns a special treat.
In the Gold Rush days, only about 300 feet of passageways were known, and the worst damage occurred in those passages. Our guide takes us into the deeper passages to the Bridal Chamber.
There is an immense mountain of flowstone in the back that is just stunning.
California Caverns were in the center of the area that burned during the Butte Fire in September, and they lost power and water.
Amazingly, the visitor center survived, but vegetation in the area was severely affected.
"One is that the mountains rose from sea level in the last 3 to 5 million years, which is very recent on a geologic time scale.
One of the longest ongoing controversies in Earth science concerns the age of California's Sierra Nevada, the tallest mountain range in the continental United States.
Some argue that the mountains rose from sea level about 3 million years ago, while others suggest a much more ancient origin.
The explorers emerged into a stunning chamber, now called the Jungle Room. Now, anyone can see what a pristine cave looks like.
It's true that pristine caves don't have carefully placed lighting, but one can think of the situation as being like a museum exhibit: the art is carefully managed, and lighting is used for highlighting the best perspective.
The other group suggests a much more ancient origin going back 60 million years or so." Now, in a study published in the July 7 edition of the journal Science, Chamberlain and Stanford colleagues Andreas Mulch and Stephan A.