Surfing the Net with Kids: Caves and Caverns

Surfing the Net with Kids: Caves and Caverns

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January 2, 2000

Dear Readers,

Welcome back. Isn’t it great that everything has gone
so smoothly so far with the new year transition? If you
have any Y2K stories to share, we’d love to hear them on the
new Surf Net
Kids discussion board

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Caves and Caverns

We just returned from a family vacation that included a walking tour
through the California Caverns in Mountain Ranch. For the rest of the
week we pondered the question “What is the difference between a cave and a
cavern?” As is typical in my family, everyone made up their own answer
(cavern is larger, cave is above ground, a cavern is formed by calcite,
and so on.) I promised all that I would find the REAL answer and report
it in my column, so here goes: the words are interchangeable!

Armchair Caver


British spelunker Arthur Vause guides us on a point-and-click photo tour
of three English caves with this introduction: “Avoid the unpleasantness of
actual caving with my armchair guides – clickable maps with photographs of
the cave. … For non-cavers, to simulate the caving experience, go into
the garden and get changed into some old clothes. Then take your PC into
the cupboard under the stairs and view these guides with the lights out.
Periodically sprinkle cold water over yourself. After it’s all over, smear
some mud on your face.”

Cave of the
Winds Kid Page


Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs, Colorado has a great kids page
with a glossary of cave terms (from “alabaster” to “stalagmite”), two
fill-in-the-blank quizzes (“When rainwater picks up carbon dioxide from the
air and from the soil, it forms ________ which can dissolve certain kinds
of rock.”) and several pages to print and color. Best clicks are the
recipes for making crystal formations, the virtual photo tour and the
photo-illustrated glossary.

Kentucky Caverns


“The process of forming caves in soluble rock is very slow. It all
begins with rain. As rain falls through the atmosphere, it absorbs a small
amount of carbon dioxide. It gathers additional carbon dioxide as it moves
through the soil. Water mixed with carbon dioxide is weak carbonic acid
solution. As this solution of water and carbon dioxide seeps through the
cracks and crevices, it dissolves the soluble rock and forms cavities and
channels as it moves downward and laterally. After thousands of years of
solution, underground rooms and chambers can be formed.” This informative
site has not-to-be-missed sections on Cave Formation, Cave Ecology and
Student Activities.

Luray Caverns


“On August 13, 1878, one of nature’s most spectacular creations was
uncovered: Luray Caverns. From a small draft of air, three local townsmen —
Benton Stebbins, Billy Campbell, and Andrew Campbell — found what had taken
400 million years to create. It was a cavern that covered over 64 acres and
descended 164 feet below the earth’s surface.” Now, with this beautifully
designed site, the joy of discovery is yours. Best clicks are Time Line (a
history of the caverns) and Discovery (a narrative peppered with quiz
questions and interactive Shockwave experiments.)



“From the comfort of your keyboard, browse the mineral wonders unique to
the cave environment! We’ve collected images from around the world and
combined them to generate an ‘ideal’ cave — one that contains an example
of every major type of speleothem, or secondary mineral deposit. Simply
click on the feature you wish to visit, and let your mouse do the crawling!
Cave softly, and don’t touch! Speleothems are quite delicate, and once
damaged, may take thousands of years to grow back, if at all.” This
virtual cave is my pick-of-day. You can navigate with either the image map
(my recommendation) or the alphabetic list of cave features.

Surfing the Calendar

Last Day of the 20th

Dec 31, 1999
New Years
Jan 1,
Ellis Island

Jan 1, 1892
Ben Franklin’s

Jan 17, 1706
Martin Luther King

Jan 18, 1999
Chats & Contests

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Copyright © 1999 Barbara J.

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