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    Ability Realty
    7360 E. 22nd Street
    Tucson, AZ 85710
    (800) 528-0626 Toll Free
    (520) 721-6365 Fax

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    Tucson Arizona Equal Housing Opportunity


    Tucson Real Estate at it's finest.

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    Broker: Barry Fotheringham

    tucson real estate 

    Kartchner Caverns State Park

    Ever had a cave kiss? Ashley Fotheringham has. She went on a field trip to Karchner Caverns. Unlike Colossal Cave which is a dry cave, Karchner is a living cave. A wet cave. The incredible formations are still forming. Water is still dripping through the limestone and other minerals and miracles are still taking place. If you are touched by one of the drops of water as you walk along the path, you have been kissed by the cave.

    In November 1974 two young cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, were exploring in the Whetstone Mountains. They found a hole with warm moist air coming out. They knew this meant a cave. Within the next few hours they knew they had found one of natures rare treasures. They explored for four years before telling the owner James and Lois Kartchner. The cave's existence became public knowledge in 1988 when its purchase was approved as an Arizona State Park. Extraordinary precautions have been taken during its development to conserve the cave's near-pristine condition.

    The Caverns are located about 10 miles south of I-10 near Benson which make it very easy to stop without going out of your way.

    The three formations in the cave are stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone. These are all made of calcite. Calcite is the result of seepage through the earth and changes that occur in the water as it mixes with minerals and other compounds in the soil. The colors in the cave are elements that have mixed with the calcite. Reds are from iron, black and gray are from aluminum salts, yellow is from sulpur and green is from copper. Pure calcite is white.

    It can take over 100 years for one inch of calcite to form so you can imagine how long the cave has been building when you see a 58 foot stalagmite! Some formations are gigantic while others could easily break if you were to blow on them. Flowstone looks like waterfalls running down the walls of some of the rooms. Rooms? Yes, there are several rooms

    Soda straws are hollow stalacites that are very thin. Karchner holds the record for the longest 21.16 feet! Bacon Draperies are clear sheets of dripstone with just enough of the right colors to make them look like bacon. Some columns are 50 feet high and more. Stalagmite. Mineral-rich water dripping from a high ceiling splatters in a wide pattern, forming a flattened, "fried egg" stalagmite. The formations that decorate caves are called "speleothems." Usually these formations are composed of layers of calcite called travertine deposited by water. The form a speleothem takes is determined by whether the water drips, flows, seeps, condenses or pools.

    The guided tour takes about 75 minutes. You will come away with a better understanding of caves and the life forms that live there and depend upon each other to sustain them. It is an amazing cycle.





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