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Incredible Colorado Caves
by Stormy on July 12, 2002

You'd think that all people are happy living above ground, but as it turns out, there's a whole bunch who like going underground. Some even write books about it!

A special treat today was going to a lecture at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The lecture was given by Richard Rhinehart, a caver and writer who spent many hours underground. Being underground is not all that unusual for marmots. That's just a place where we sleep. We build our own burrows and take shelter there from weather and predators and to cool off during the day and warm up at night. People, it turns out, go underground to explore. They explore large hollow passages called “caves”. These are measured and studied and then someone writes a book and comes to a museum to talk about what they found. Caves are not built by people. They are built by nature. Most of the time underground streams dissolve rock and make large and small passages. This is actually good to know because up to now I always dug burrows with my own paws and it turns out that you can get water to do all the work for you. No real burrowing is required. I'll need to look into that. Caves come in all shapes and sizes and are usually made in different kinds of rock, although some can be in ice. Caves have all sorts of things to trip over in them. These are called formations and are also made out of the same rock that the cave is in. Different types of people go into caves for different reasons. Some go to party and have a good time and others go in later to save them because they got hurt. There are also scientists who go into caves. Some to dig and find more caves, some to measure them, some to study rocks or bugs. Some people even go into caves to make them look like people have never been in there! How weird is that? Richard Rhinehart turned out to be a really friendly man. He was very cheerful and pleasant and told a lot about his experiences in caves over the last twenty years! He also wrote a book called Colorado Caves: Hidden Worlds Beneath the Peaks. He was gracious enough to chat with me and autograph a copy of his book!



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