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    Posted July 6, 2014 by
    JuleeK
    Location
    Luray, Virginia
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Natural wonders in the 50 states

    More from JuleeK

    Splendor Underground. Luray Caverns

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     This Fourth of July Julee Khoo spent her holiday spelunking the Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia. The caverns feature 10-foot ceilings, towering stone columns and crystal clear pools of water.

    Khoo said, "I was completely blown away by the sight of Dream Lake. It's a small body of water but the surface of the water is so remarkably still, it really looks like a mirror - perfectly reflecting the stalactites that hung from the cavern ceiling above."

    What's your favorite natural wonder in the U.S.? Share your best photos here.
    - taliaday, CNN iReport producer

    I spent the morning of July 4th visiting Luray Caverns, a subterranean world filled with magnificent rock formations. Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the caves were discovered In 1878. They are the only caves on the East Coast of the US. I first visited when I was a child and even then I remember being in awe of the wondrous rock formations I saw. I have to say, having visited again as an adult, I remain in awe of the stunning beauty of the place.

    You enter the caverns through a very non-nondescript door inside the gift shop. From there, a path takes you into caverns were stalactites and stalagmites, rocks in formations known as draperies and waterfalls. Throw in a few “totem poles”, a magical lake and a pair of fried eggs and you have just a few of the underground splendors that make Luray Caverns a very special natural wonder.


    Image #1. Giants Hall - Giant's Hall is an enormous subterranean chamber where there is an amazing variety of large stone formations that are referred to as the “Totem Poles” which include a massive pair of side by side totems known as the Bride and Groom.

    Image #3. Stalactites form from the ceiling down while stalagmites build from the ground up. The growth rate is one cubic inch per 120 years and some formations are over seven million years old!

    Image #4. The Lake of Dreams is amazing. When you come upon it, it looks like a massive cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites but in fact, it’s a very shallow pool of water that mirrors the stalactite formations from above. When you look at th water you think it’s deep but that’s just an illusion. At its deepest point, the water is only 20 inches deep!

    Image #6. One of the unique formations in Luray is the dripstone which looks like icing dribbling down the side of a cake. The column on right is a set of stalagmites and stalactites that have touched.

    Image #7. Another unique formation is flowstone which are crystalline deposits that form frozen waterfalls, veils and draperies. Saracen's Tent is one of the most perfectly formed drapery structures in the world. Some sections of the drapery are so sheer, you can see through the rock when a light is shown on it.

    Image #8. The variation in the colors of the rocks is amazing! Iron and iron-stained clays create red and yellow hues, while copper minerals cause blue and greenish hues.

    Image #10. Fried Eggs formation. A very small and unique formation that looks like a pair of sunny side up eggs.

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