Campus Life

Cave Exploration at Lincoln Caverns

A busload of students joined Mrs. Fernandes and Mrs. Donaghue for a trip to Lincoln Caverns on Saturday, including many of students from Mrs. Fernandes' 8th grade Earth Science class. The trip included a one-hour tour of two crystal caverns: Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks. As they learned about cave geology and local lore associated with the caves, students observed a variety of cave formations, including crystals, stalactites, and stalagmites.
Students found hard hats in the gift shop and one declared to Mrs. Fernandes, "Look, I'm Homer Hickam!" The class had recently readthe book Rocket Boys, on which the movie October Sky was based. In the memoir, Homer Hickam is expected to follow his West Virginia coal miner father's footsteps (hence, the hard hat), but develops an interest in rockets after the launch of the Soviet rocket Sputnik 1 in 1957. Hickam begins experimenting with rockets, and later receives a degree in Engineering, serves in the US Army during the Vietnam War, and works for NASA.

The trip to Lincoln Caverns was a fun time and educational, as well!

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by R. Woolfrey | Photo credit: C. Fernandes
    • Hard hats: good for spelunking and coal mining.

    • Students learned about many cave formations, including this one: Cave Bacon!

    • Earth Science class students who accompanied Mrs. Fernandes and Mrs. Donaghue on the trip.

    • A group looks up from below.

    • Single file through a narrow opening.

    • A growing crystal formation.

    • A hole in the cave wall creates a glimpse into another chamber.

    • A tour guide points out features of Lincoln Caverns.

    • Beautiful cascade-like crystal formation of flowstone. When the lights were turned off, the students could observe the formation glowing. Fluorescence is a unique property of calcite, the mineral in this formation.

    • A sleepy little bat hangs from the ceiling.

    • A closer look at the bat.

    • A bat (facing away from the camera) that the group observed in one of the caverns.

    • Students take their own photos of the little bat and interesting formations.

    • Another narrow space in the cave.

    • A stunning intricate formation formed by minerals and water. One student said it resembled mermaid scales.

    • A tour guide points out features of Lincoln Caverns.

    • Ceiling formations called soda straws.

    • Brachiopod fossils in the cavern walls.

    • Rippling formations of flowstone along the walls of the cave sparkled because this part of the cave was dry.

    • Looking up at the formation in the ceiling, it resembles the Grand Canyon.

    • This formation is named botryoids and is called "cave popcorn!"

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Grier School

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Phone: 814-684-3000 | Fax: 814-684-2177