On the other hand, marble is found in the western part of the Sierra Nevada, where ancient marine sediments were compressed against the edge of the continent 200 to 300 million years ago. These rocks extend from the Gold Rush town of Columbia in the Mother Lode north past Jackson and Sutter Creek. There are also outliers in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. And in these rocks, there are caves. Lots and lots of caves! More than 1,000 have been discovered over the years. A few have been developed for tours. Kids in our region often have their first underground experience at Moaning Caverns outside of Columbia, and others have toured Mercer, California, or Black Chasm caves. Crystal Cave has been an important visitor destination at Sequoia National Park for many decades, along with Boyden Cave on the Kings River.
These pictures are from our field trip last week for our class on the karst topography of the Sierra Nevada. The other highlight of our trip was an exploration of one of the most spectacular caves in the American west. That visit is coming up in a future post.
For more information about the park, check out http://www.chawseassociation.org/index.html and http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=553