The 27th and 28th of February, 2000, I had the opportunity to spend a little time in Tucson, Arizona.  On the second of these two days, I had just a little time to spend and ran to see the eastern, larger portion of Saguaro National Park and the Collosal Cave, a Pima County Park.  Since there would be an earlier closing for cave tours, I did see the cave first, arriving for the last tour of the day.

The cave in the top of a limistone knob with desert vegetation.  The visitor center, shown above, is an old ranch house.

The entry way is lined with healthy Saguaros:

Once in the cave, one is struck by the many formations.  It was alive until the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago.  Alive meaning there was water seeping through overlying carbonate rock, evaporating underground and leaving its mineral load behind.  The climate has been too dry since then (and if the next ice age came, the openings would have to be reduced to allow the cave to come alive again).

The next few pictures are of flowstone, fins, stalagmites (broken) and a column with a break from the last large earthquake in the area (I believe it was about a 7.4 on the Richter scale).

Once back outside I was just in time to take a few pictures of Saguaro National Park East.  Clearly it deserved more time, but I did --after all-- have the luxury of a sizable hike in the western branch of this park the previous day!

Go to Saguaro National Park West

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