A US Natural Landmark noted for the abundant variety of formation and unsurpassed natural color, Luray Caverns has been on my places to visit list for quite a few years now. So finally on our way back from the Cherry Blossom Festival, we stopped by to admire this beauty! We took a one hour guided tour, to learn about the caverns. Though each and every nook of this place is quaint, I have listed below some of the most captivating areas of the caverns.
Draperies, areas where deposits grade into thin sheets, can be seen in profuse throughout, but the best example is Saracen’s Tent – wherein lambrequin of translucent calcite, falling in graceful folds, with thousands of patterns and thin enough to reveal the structures within if a candle is held behind them, is one of the most beautiful part of the cave.
The cavern is yellow, brown or red because of water, chemicals and minerals. The new stalactites growing from the old, and made of hard carbonates that had already once been used, are usually white as snow though often pink or amber-colored. Giant’s Hall, enormous chambers are filled with towering stone columns, shimmering draperies and crystal-clear pools. It’s the deepest part of the caverns.
Titania’s Veil is a pristine example of a calcite formation in its finest purity, since the calcite in its purest form is white.
There is a spring of water called Dream Lake that has an almost mirror-like appearance. Stalactites are reflected in the water making them appear to be stalagmites, making it impossible to see the real bottom.
The Wishing Well is a green pond with coins three feet deep at the bottom. Do remember to put a few coins when you visit, since the coins from the well are collected and given to various charities!
The Great Stalacpipe Organ is an electrically actuated lithophone, located in the caverns. It literally makes stalactites sing by gently tapping them throughout three acres of the caverns. It is one of the largest organs in the world, which uses stalactites that are distributed through approximately 3.5 acres (14,000 m2) of the caverns but can be heard anywhere within its 64-acre (260,000 m2) confines. The guide informed us that, so far there have been 500+ weddings at the caverns, with guests dancing to its music. Ah, magical!
We came upon a fallen stalactite, which, based on how long it takes to grow to fuse to surrounding formations (120 years to grow an inch), is estimated to have been lying here for approximately 8000 years.
There is a piece of an stalagmite that was accidentally cut, revealing the inner details which resembles an oyster, may be?
This pretty much summarizes our tour around the caverns.The well-lighted, paved walkways, cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10 stories high, the towering stone columns and crystal-clear pools, have definitely left a enduring impact on our minds!
P.S: Follow the Luray Caverns account on Vimeo, to see some beautiful videos of these formations!