Crystal Cave

 

On Thursday, October 18th 2007, the Geomorphology class took a field trip during lab to go to Crystal Cave, which is located just outside of Spring Valley, WI.  Crystal Cave is a popular tourist attraction in Northwestern Wisconsin as it is one of the only two caves in the state.  We left at 1:00 PM to arrive at the cave around 1:45, Blaze, met us in the gift shop and then we went to the backyard to see a sinkhole, one of the few karst-related features that can be seen above ground.  This sinkhole was roughly five meters deep and six or seven meters across.  After seeing the sinkhole and having a chance to check out the gift shop Blaze led us to the basement and gave us a little history of the cave and showed us a map of how far the cave goes.  Since the cave is still considered a “living cave” it continues to grow, not only from natural phenomena but also from further exploration and excavation.

crystal cave map

We followed Blaze down a lot of stairs until we reached the cave, which varies from around 50 to 100 feet below the surface, depending on what level of the cave you are at.  Our tour was longer than their typical tours, it lasted roughly an hour and a half.  At the end of the tour we were informed of some new possible happenings in the cave as well as service learning opportunities that we could take part in if we wanted to.  All in all the tour was very educational as well as interesting to see all the different speleothems that can be found in the different parts of cave.  We finished our tour and discussion of the cave at roughly 3:45 and departed the cave to arrive back in Eau Claire at about 4:30.