The Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico - The Underground Splendor of Carlsbad Caverns - The Underground World of Caves
Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Photo by Martin St-Amant

Just read a fascinating archived article from 2001.

The Underground Splendor of Carlsbad Caverns

It is a first person account of a visit to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, U.S.A.

I learned something new! I knew that as plant and animal matter decays in the top level of soil, it releases carbon dioxide gas. Water seeping through reacts with this gas to form weak carbonic acid. The carbonic acid dissolves the solid limestone, a chemical reaction causes it to dissolve even more limestone…

The Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico - The Underground Splendor of Carlsbad Caverns - The Underground World of Caves
Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Photo by Martin St-Amant

It seems sulfuric acid, not carbonic acid formed Carlsbad Caverns.

Geologist Carol Hill, the article cites, says that a much stronger acid hollowed out the caverns of the Guadalupe Mountains.

“Hill suggests that sulfur-rich gas formed in oil reservoirs in rocks below the limestone reefs. When the rock mass began to rise, the gas infiltrated the reefs and reacted with air and fresh, oxygenated underground water to form sulfuric acid. This strong acid was able to dissolve large amounts of the limestone rock.”

The caverns of the Guadalupe Mountains have more than 300 known caves, include Carlsbad Caverns and Lechuguilla Cave.

Read the rest of the article at The Underground Splendor of Carlsbad Caverns, Awake 5/22 pp. 25-27

The Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico - The Underground Splendor of Carlsbad Caverns - The Underground World of Caves
Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Photo by Martin St-Amant
The Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico - The Underground Splendor of Carlsbad Caverns - The Underground World of Caves
Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Photo by Martin St-Amant
The Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico - The Underground Splendor of Carlsbad Caverns - The Underground World of Caves
Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Photo by Martin St-Amant

The Underground Splendor of Carlsbad Caverns