Lechuguilla Cave System

Lechuguilla Cave System

The Cave of Swallows in Mexico is a 400m vertical shaft, deep enough to engulf the Empire State Building. The Lechuguilla cave system in the USA is 193km long with astonishing crystal formations.
Caves are remarkable habitats with equally bizarre wildlife. Cave angel fish cling to the walls behind waterfalls with microscopic hooks on their fins. Cave swiftlets navigate by echo-location and build nests out of saliva. The Texas cave salamander has neither eyes nor pigment. Planet Earth gets unique access to a hidden world of stalactites, stalagmites, snotites and troglodytes.
Lechuguilla Cave System
Ultra-clear water makes this formation in New Mexico's Lechuguilla Cave look more precipice than pool. Called Lake Chandalar, spelunkers are advised to fill their canteens here without touching the water to avoid introducing bacteria that could cloud the crystalline pond.
(Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Charting the Splendors of Lechuguilla Cave," March 1991, National Geographic magazine)
Lechuguilla Cave System

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