Posts Tagged ‘cave’

Boston Globe arts correspondent Cate McQuaid tweeted a link to this Seattle Times article a while back. I thought you would like it.

Reporter Sandi Doughton writes about the ice cap at Mount Rainier’s summit and how it provided a lab of otherworldly grottoes for scientists last summer. The adventure described is both harrowing and thrilling. Here are some teasers.

“The caves form as heat rises from the volcano’s depths and melts the base of the ice cap that fills Rainier’s twin craters. …

“With little shelter on the exposed ridge, the group [of explorers] bolted for the lowest ground in sight. They huddled in a small saddle, cringing as lightning flashed through the clouds. Thunder echoed from all directions and the wind blasted them with snow.

“It was an hour before the lightning abated enough for the team members to take refuge in their tents. The storm raged all night. …

“[Zoe] Harrold, a University of Washington graduate now at Montana State, sees the caves as a natural laboratory to study microbes that flourish where most life withers.

“The combination of volcanic heat and gas, frigid water and icy soil is similar to conditions on Earth when the first living things appeared. It’s also what scientists expect on Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa — two other places in the solar system that might harbor life.”

Read the story here, and be amazed by the photos. The story reminds me so much of the spooky Danish mystery Smilla’s Sense of Snow.

Photos: François-Xavier de Ruydts/Special to the Seattle Times
Microbiologist Zoe Harrold, a University of Washington graduate, says the Mount Rainier caves can be a natural laboratory for study of microbes that can flourish in conditions hostile to most life.


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The last time I checked into the always intriguing website This Is Colossal, I followed a link to My Modern Met, where Katie Hosmer writes about a trampoline that people are bouncing on in the Llechwedd slate caverns of Wales.

“This underground labyrinth of netting is a giant trampoline playground set inside a slate quarry cavern in the Welsh mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Developed by Zip World, Bounce Below [offers] visitors a playful experience deep beneath the surface of the earth.

“The tourist attraction features three giant trampolines suspended across the cave, ranging from 20 feet to 180 feet high. Ten foot net walls prevent people from climbing out, while walkways connect the trampolines, and slides offer an easy way to exit. As visitors jump around, the walls of the surrounding cavern are illuminated with glowing blue, green, pink, and purple lights.

” ‘We got the idea when my business partner saw this done in woods in France but this has never been done in a cavern, this really is a world first in Wales,’ says Sean Taylor, owner of Zip World. ‘It’s a one hour activity where customers get dressed up in a cotton overall and given a helmet; they then jump on a train and travel inside the mountain.’ ”  More crazy pictures at My Modern Met, here.

How do you keep ’em down in the bouncy house after they’ve seen cave trampolining?

Photo: My Modern Met

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