by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Carlsbad Caverns

National Park - New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. The primary attraction of the park is the show cave, Carlsbad Cavern.

maps

Visitor Map of Brokeoff Mountains Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Brokeoff Mountains - Visitor Map

Visitor Map of Brokeoff Mountains Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Visitor Map of Mudgetts Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Mudgetts - Visitor Map

Visitor Map of Mudgetts Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Visitor Map of Lonesome Ridge Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Lonesome Ridge - Visitor Map

Visitor Map of Lonesome Ridge Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Visitor Map of Devil's Den Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Devil's Den Canyon - Visitor Map

Visitor Map of Devil's Den Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Official visitor map of Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Carlsbad Caverns - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NP) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlsbad_Caverns_National_Park Carlsbad Caverns National Park is in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. The primary attraction of the park is the show cave, Carlsbad Cavern. High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus, and desert wildlife—treasures above the ground in the Chihuahuan Desert. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 caves—formed when sulfuric acid dissolved limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes. To access the park's only entrance road, New Mexico Highway 7, turn north from US Hwy 62/180 at White's City, NM, which is 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Carlsbad, NM and 145 miles (233 km) northeast of El Paso, TX. The entrance road stretches a scenic seven miles (11.3 km) from the park gate at White's City to the visitor center and cavern entrance. The address for the park's visitor center is 727 Carlsbad Caverns Hwy, Carlsbad, NM, 88220, located 27 miles (43 km) from the town of Carlsbad. Visitor Center >> RESERVATIONS REQUIRED to enter cavern and must be purchased at recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. The reservation is only for selecting the entry time. Entrance tickets will need to be purchased at the visitor center. << The visitor center offers many services, including a bookstore, gift shop, cafeteria, restrooms, a park movie, information desk, ticket counter, and hands-on educational exhibits. To access Carlsbad Caverns National Park's only entrance road, New Mexico Highway 7, turn north from U.S. Hwy 62/180 at White's City, New Mexico—which is 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico and 145 miles (233 km) northeast of El Paso, Texas. The entrance road stretches a scenic seven miles (11 km) from the park gate at White's City to the visitor center and cavern entrance. The park's visitor center is located 25 miles (40 km) from the town of Carlsbad. Hall of Giants Photo of Giant Dome and Twin Domes in the Big Room. Giant and Twin domes in the Big Room. Big Room Photo of the Big Room with trail Big Room Mule Deer Photo of four mule deer in a drainage with vegetation around them. Mule deer find food in a drainage. Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Cavern Photo of the Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Cavern with visitors hiking down the trail. Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Cavern Chandelier and Caveman Formations Photo of the Chandelier and Caveman formations in the Big Room Chandelier and Caveman formations. Yucca Blooming Photo of a yucca plant with cream and pinkish-colored flowers. Yucca blooming NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. cave formation Studying reactive nitrogen deposition Although air quality has improved in recent decades the boom of energy extraction and development in the west is raising new air quality concerns for sensitive desert ecosystems. Researchers examine how even small increases in air pollution may affect park landscapes. This study will examine effects of different levels of nitrogen fertilizer on plant communities and soil processes in the park. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Jennifer Holguin It’s Alive! Biological Soil Crusts of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts It might come as a surprise to learn that in the sublime expanses of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, some of the most interesting life around can be found in the dirt right in front of your feet! Biological soil crusts form a living groundcover that is the foundation of desert plant life. Soil crust at White Sands National Monument Morale, Welfare and Recreation in WWII National Parks Wartime NPS Director Newton Drury wrote 'In wartime, the best function of these areas is to prove a place to which members of the armed forces and civilians may retire to restore shattered nerves and to recuperate physically and mentally for the war tasks still ahead of them.' During World War II, parks across the United States supported the morale of troops and sought to become places of healing for those returning from war. B&W; soldiers post in front of large tree Climate Change and the Chihuahuan Desert The Chihuahuan Desert Network is currently developing protocols to monitor several vital signs that may reflect current and future impacts of climate change. This brief offers a summary of how Chihuahuan Desert Network monitoring will detect future change. Smith Springs is one of many springs that serve as a water source for plants & animals in the CHDN. Bat Projects in Parks: Carlsbad Caverns A study of western bat species defense against WNS in Carlsbad Cavern. Rock formation in Carlsbad Cavern, stalactites and stalagmites coming together like teeth Carlsbad Caverns National Park Reptile and Amphibian Inventory Few permanent sources of water are present in the park. Rattlesnake Springs, a detached unit of Carlsbad Caverns NP, is a rare wooded riparian area. Surveys were completed in Rattlesnake Springs, the park's sewage disposal area, and canyons and drainages throughout the park. Texas banded gecko Wildland Fire: Interagency Suppression of Horse Canyon Fire The Horse Canyon fire was discovered and attacked on June 29, 2012, on Lincoln National Forest in piñon, juniper, grass, and brush. The next day, the fire crossed into Carlsbad Caverns NP, and Pecos Zone Type III Team took over management of the fire. Fire crews from various partner agencies used existing roads, trails, and fire scars to help keep the fire in check and conducted multiple burnout operations to tie in and strengthen containment lines. Air Quality Monitoring in the Southern Plains and Chihuahuan Desert Networks Both the Clean Air Act and the National Park Service Organic Act protect air resources in national parks. Park resources affected by air quality include scenery and vistas, vegetation, water, and wildlife. Over the past three decades, the National Park Service has developed several internal and cooperative programs for monitoring various measures of air quality. Cactus and clear skies at Tonto National Monument Air Quality in the Chihuahuan Desert Three park units in the Chihuahuan Desert Network, Big Bend National Park (NP), Carlsbad Caverns NP, and Guadalupe Mountains NP are designated as Class I air quality areas under the Clean Air Act. Class I areas receive the highest protection under the act, and degradation of air quality must be minimal. Air quality concerns include atmospheric deposition effects and visibility impairment from fine particle haze. Rugged landscape under a partly cloudy sky at Big Bend National Park Monitoring Upland Vegetation and Soils in the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Desert Networks Vegetation and soils are two of many natural resources monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Learning about vegetation dynamics helps us to better understand the integrity of ecological processes, productivity trends, and ecosystem interactions that can otherwise be difficult to monitor. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor vegetation and soils using the scientific protocol described here. Quadrat used for biological soil crust sampling Inventory of High Elevation Breeding Birds at Carlsbad Caverns National Park Prior to this inventory, little information existed on the presence, distribution, or relative abundance of high-country breeding birds in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Portrait of a Montezuma quail, an intricately patterned black, white, and brown bird Park Air Profiles - Carlsbad Caverns National Park Air quality profile for Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Carlsbad Caverns NP as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Carlsbad Caverns NP. Doll’s Theater formation inside Carlsbad Caverns Wildland Fire in Douglas Fir: Western United States Douglas fir is widely distributed throughout the western United States, as well as southern British Columbia and northern Mexico. Douglas fir is able to survive without fire, its abundantly-produced seeds are lightweight and winged, allowing the wind to carry them to new locations where seedlings can be established. Close-up of Douglas fir bark and needles. Exotic Plants Monitoring in the Southern Plains and Chihuahuan Desert National parks, like other publicly managed lands, are deluged by new exotic species arriving through predictable (e.g., road, trail, and riparian corridors), sudden (e.g., long distance dispersal through cargo containers and air freight), and unexpected anthropogenic pathways (e.g., weed seeds mixed in with restoration planting mixes). Landscape with a uniform, green foreground consisting of invasive kochia Bats in Caves Bats and caves go together in people's minds. National Parks are home to many important bat caves. But, bats are particular. Many caves only contain a few bats. Some bats like certain caves for raising their young and other caves for winter hibernation. Other bats avoid caves entirely and sleep and raise their young in protected locations in trees and rocks outside. a group of bats hanging on a cave ceiling Student Journal: Studying the Air at Carlsbad Caverns National Park Student intern Jeremy McClung shares his experience learning about and assisting with an air quality study at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Kings palace cave formations in carlsbad caverns national park Cave Exploration in the National Parks Most Americans may not realize that their National Park caves lie at the forefront of on-going cave exploration. Some of the longest caves on Earth are managed and protected by the NPS. And all of these caves contain unexplored passages and rooms that cavers seek to find and document. These giant cave systems are the site of on-going work by cavers to explore, map, photograph and inventory the extent of National Park caves. delicate thin mineral formations in a cave An Inventory of Fossils at Carlsbad Caverns National Park The rich fossil record at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, was the focus of a recent paleontological resource inventory. Paleontologist Scott Kottkamp dedicated three months at the park researching and reporting on the fossils from the Permian marine reef system and Ice Age fossils founds within park caves at the park. fossils and scale bar ruler Wildland Fire in Ponderosa Pine: Western United States This forest community generally exists in areas with annual rainfall of 25 inches or less. Extensive pure stands of this forest type are found in the southwestern U.S., central Washington and Oregon, southern Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Recently burned ponderosa pine forest. Cave Volunteer Activities and Welcome to Erin Lynch Activity summaries from Lechuguilla Cave, Carlsbad Cavern, Slaughter Canyon Cave highlight this update from Carlsbad Caverns National Park including restoration and research trips. A new Physical Science Technician, Erin Lynch, begins work in the Cave Resources Office. Lechuguilla Cave water and rock formations in cave Southwest River Environments In the arid Southwest, water means life, and prehistorically, rivers were the lifelines of the people. The Colorado River flowing through a canyon Southern Basin and Range The Southern Basin and Range is an extension of the Basin and Range Province centered on Nevada and the Great Basin and extending from southern Oregon to western Texas, and into northwest Mexico. Mountains and Desert in Guadalupe Mountains National Park Bat Bombs and Balloons on Fire: Bizarre Occurrences in WWII National Parks An auxiliary field at the Carlsbad air base was the site of one of the war’s stranger experiments as a secret government project envisioned captured bats strapped with bombs dropped over Japan. In Olympic National Park, Japanese Incendiary Balloons fell across the pacific northwest, trigger Climate Monitoring in the Southern Plains, Sonoran Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert Climate is one of many ecological indicators monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Climate data help scientists to understand ecosystem processes and help to explain many of the patterns and trends observed in other natural-resource monitoring. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor climate using the scientific protocol described here. Kayaking across a fl ooded parking lot, Chickasaw NRA, July 2007. Climate Monitoring at Carlsbad Caverns National Park Climate is the primary driver of ecological processes on earth. A broader time scale (seasons to years) is what distinguishes climate from the instantaneous conditions reflected by the term weather. We conduct long-term climate monitoring to detect climate changes that could have cascading effects on park ecosystems. View from a mountaintop of trees, mountains, and a valley in the distance with cloud cover. High Adventure in Carlsbad Cavern The Mystery Room in Carlsbad Caverns is underway to be resurveyed and completely explored. With the expansive size of the room it makes for some big challenges. a helmeted person on a climbing rope descending a into dark passage way Preparing for the Inevitable—Cave Search and Rescue Practice at Carlsbad Caverns National Park Although search and rescue are rare in caves, when they do happen it requires a lot of planning and careful considerations. Carlsbad Caverns National Park staff prepare for when search and rescue situations may arise. cave rescue crew in safety gear prepares to lift a person on a backboard litter Lil’ Lechugilla A section of Carlsbad Caverns, known as Lil’ Lechuguilla had not been visited since it’s discovery in 1976. Due to bad data, a team of cavers went back to resurvey in 2019 only to discover a large room containing various minerals and a deep pit. a person in a cave with hard hat and headlamp The International Year of Caves and Karst in 2021 The International Year of Caves and Karst is coming in 2021 and our National Parks will be participating with events and activities for all to enjoy. karst towers in china Springs Monitoring at Carlsbad Caverns National Park We monitor six sentinel springs at Carlsbad Caverns National Park to detect broad-scale changes in these important resources. Springs are relatively rare but ecologically important natural resources in the American Southwest. Despite their small size, springs tend to be hot spots of biodiversity in arid lands. A scientist writing notes by a pool of water in a bedrock depression. Series: Inside Earth – NPS Cave & Karst News – Summer 2017 This newsletter is produced as a forum for information and idea exchanges between National Park Service units that contain caves and karst landscapes. It also provides a historical overview and keeps partners and other interested folks aware of cave and karst management activities. 4 rangers walk through shoe cleaning station Series: Inside Earth – NPS Cave & Karst News – Fall 2020 This newsletter is produced as a forum for information and idea exchanges between National Park Service units that contain caves and karst landscapes. It also provides a historical overview and keeps partners and other interested folks aware of cave and karst management activities. a person with climbing helmet descending into a dark passageway Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Cenozoic Era The Cenozoic Era (66 million years ago [MYA] through today) is the "Age of Mammals." North America’s characteristic landscapes began to develop during the Cenozoic. Birds and mammals rose in prominence after the extinction of giant reptiles. Common Cenozoic fossils include cat-like carnivores and early horses, as well as ice age woolly mammoths. fossils on display at a visitor center Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Series: Climate and Water Resource Monitoring at Carlsbad Caverns National Park Climate and water shape ecosystems, especially in arid and semi-arid places like Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We monitor climate and springs at the park each year to detect changes that could be detrimental to park ecosystems. Climate change is an emerging stressor on springs in the American Southwest and a diverse array of plants and animals depend on these sparse water resources in the park. Yuccas with flowering stalks and other desert shrubs on a rocky slope Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: Park Paleontology News - Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2020 All across the park system, scientists, rangers, and interpreters are engaged in the important work of studying, protecting, and sharing our rich fossil heritage. <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/newsletters.htm">Park Paleontology news</a> provides a close up look at the important work of caring for these irreplaceable resources. <ul><li>Contribute to Park Paleontology News by contacting the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/common/utilities/sendmail/sendemail.cfm?o=5D8CD5B898DDBB8387BA1DBBFD02A8AE4FBD489F4FF88B9049&r=/subjects/geoscientistsinparks/photo-galleries.htm">newsletter editor</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/">Fossils & Paleontology</a> </li><li>Celebrate <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/">National Fossil Day</a> with events across the nation</li></ul> two people standing outdoors near a fossil tree base Series: Cave Week—Featured Articles More than 20 parks across the US are participating in Cave Week via social media posts, cave tours, exhibits, school events, web pages and much more. The theme for Cave Week 2020 is, “Why do we go into caves?” This articles shares a few stories about why people (and bats) enter caves. person standing by underground lake in a cave Series: Chihuahuan Desert Network Reptile and Amphibian Inventories In 2003 and 2004, the University of Arizona conducted an inventory of reptiles and amphibians (herpetofauna) in six National Park Service Chihuahuan Desert Network parks. Primary objectives of this inventory were to document reptile and amphibian species, map the distribution of all species found, and determine a rough relative abundance for each species. Trans-Pecos ratsnake Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Series: Park Air Profiles Clean air matters for national parks around the country. Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ Series: Seasonal Inventory of Birds in Low Elevation Chihuahuan Desert Riparian Habitats In 2004, independent researchers began conducting a three-year inventory of birds in low-elevation riparian (stream-side) habitats in the National Park Service’s Chihuahuan Desert Network. The goals of this study were to (1) document the presence, richness, and abundance of bird species; (2) compare results to existing information about park birds and update park checklists; and (3) provide baseline data and site evaluations that may be used to develop bird monitoring programs in the Network. Bird survey site in Guadalupe Mountains National Park Permian Period—298.9 to 251.9 MYA The massive cliffs of El Capitan in Guadalupe Mountains National Park represent a Permian-age reef along the supercontinent Pangaea. The uppermost rocks of Grand Canyon National Park are also Permian. flat-top mountain Mississippian Period—358.9 to 323.2 MYA The extensive caves of Mammoth Cave and Wind Cave national parks developed in limestone deposited during the Mississippian. Warm, shallow seas covered much of North America, which was close to the equator. fossil crinoid Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Quaternary Period—2.58 MYA to Today Massive ice sheets advanced and retreated across North America during much of the Quaternary, carving landscapes in many parks. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve contains geologic evidence of lower sea level during glacial periods, facilitating the prehistoric peopling of the Americas. The youngest rocks in the NPS include the lava of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the travertine at Yellowstone National Park, which can be just a few hours old. fossil bone bed and murals of mammoths Cenozoic Era The Cenozoic Era (66 million years ago [MYA] through today) is the "Age of Mammals." North America’s characteristic landscapes began to develop during the Cenozoic. Birds and mammals rose in prominence after the extinction of giant reptiles. Common Cenozoic fossils include cat-like carnivores and early horses, as well as ice age woolly mammoths. fossils on display in a visitor center More Than “Just” A Secretary If you’re only familiar with modern office practices, you may not recognize many of jobs necessary to run an office or national park over much of the past hundred years. Today, typewriters have given way to computers, photocopy machines have replaced typing pools, stenographers are rarely seen outside of courtrooms, and callers are largely expected to pick extensions from digital directories. Women skiing Blanket Cave National Youth Park—Activity Enjoy a fun activity and learn about caves even when you can't get out to a park. In this activity you will build your own cave and learn how to make it like a "real" natural cave. Find out about cave formations and wildlife, and how to be safe and care for caves. New "Blanket Cave National Youth Parks" are springing up all across America! Join the fun! cartoon drawing of a childs and a park ranger exploring a cave Protecting the Ranger Image In 1926, five women rangers worked in Yellowstone National Park. Marguerite Lindsley was the only permanent ranger and supervised the museum at Mammoth. Frieda B. Nelson and Irene Wisdom were temporary park rangers. Wisdom worked at the entrance station, while Nelson did clerical duties in the chief ranger’s office and worked in the information office. Ranger dancing with a bear Who Wears the Pants Around Here? After a promising start in the early 1920s, only a handful of women were hired as park rangers and naturalists in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the national monuments of the Southwest became the new hot spots for women in uniformed positions in the 1930s. Women in skirts and pants Changing Clothes By the end of the 1930s, skirts were the common exemption to the standard uniform for women. As they ditched the breeches, they also lost their iconic Stetson hats. Women wanted more comfortable, better fitting, and more flattering uniforms. Many of the details of how changes came about are fuzzy, and it seems that the first separate women’s uniform adopted in 1941 was never implemented. Guide Olive Johnson at Carlsbad Caverns is wearing the WAC-style jacket at Carlsbad Caverns, Substitute Rangers As the 1940s dawned, the United States was still dealing with the economic woes of the Great Depression and trying not to get drawn in WWII. Even as it continued to manage New Deal Program work in national and state parks, the NPS remained understaffed as a government bureau. The emergency relief workers and about 15 percent of NPS staff enlisted or were drafted during the first couple of years of WWII. Winifred Tada, 1940. (Courtesy of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin) Plan Like a Park Ranger: Carlsbad Caverns Top-10 List Checkout the top-10 things to know when visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Cave formations along the Big Room Trail. Potential Future Uses for Laser Scanning Data Collected in Carlsbad Caverns The cultural landscape of Carlsbed Caverns National Park consists of the built environment within the cave, as well as above. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) data has allowed creative analysis, precise measurements, maneuvering through and understanding complex and challenging landscapes, and pushing the boundaries of cultural landscape analysis and documentation. Erin Gearty describes how 3D data can be used for resource protection. Laser Scanning in Carlsbad Caverns "Digital 3D documentation of the portions of Carlsbad Caverns National Park which had the highest degree of cultural contact was performed. My initial walk through of the cave several months prior to the actual work, my repeated comment was, 'This is really big.' This rather apparent observation did drive quite a few of the decisions we had to make doing this project." --- Malcolm Williamson A render of point cloud data showing trails through the caverns. Introduction: Use of 3D Data in Carlsbad Caverns This was a mitigation project for damage done inside of Carlsbad Caverns National Park by park staff that predates everyone at that park right now...And our conversations were about how to document the cave well, document it how we needed it documented to do a cultural landscapes inventory (CLI) how we could then use that information to take care of these resources inside the cave going forward. Julie McGilvray, National Park Service, at a lectern giving a presentation. Using 3D Documentation to Create 2D Maps of Carlsbad Caverns Kimball Erdman discusses how to use point cloud data and apply it in terms of a cultural landscape inventory. This is the first time a subterranean cultural landscape has been digitized in such a fashion. Erdman has performed digital landscape reconstructions for the Buffalo National River, and on a much larger scale, on Japanese internment camps. Kimball Erdman discusses how to use point cloud data in a cultural landscape inventory. Creating a Repeatable Method for Viewshed Analysis Using Lidar Data in Carlsbad Caverns "Both the paved path and the lighting system that make the cave accessible to visitors are responses to its existing geometry...through this symbiosis of nature and design, in terms of the delta between what actually exists in the caverns...and what the visitor perceives there, by virtue of the design choices at play." --- Claire Gorman Claire Gorman, Yale University stands at a lectern during her presentation.
Handicap parking only Restrooms Natural Entrance Visitor Center Restrooms Parking area Bat Flight Amphitheater Trail Surface elevation 4406 feet 1343 meters BAT CAVE 200 feet (61m) below surface Devil’s Spring MA S N CE IC R M OO IN CORR IDOR S Elevator shaft GREEN LAKE ROOM Iceberg Rock KING’S PALACE 829 feet (253m) below surface Ranger-guided tour only QUEEN’S CHAMBER Boneyard Rest Area and Lunchroom Restrooms 755 feet (230m) below surface PAPOOSE ROOM JIM WHITE TUNNEL HALL OF View of Lower Cave GIANTS Temple of the Sun Rock of Ages Caveman Junction Shortcut Totem Pole Top of the Cross Seating area for cave talks Carlsbad Cavern Tours Self-guiding Trails: Big Room Route 1.25 miles (2km), 11⁄2 hours easy to moderate Mirror Lake Natural Entrance Route 1.25 miles (2km), 1 hour steep and strenuous Ranger-guided Tour: Bottomless Pit King’s Palace Tour 1 mile (1.6km), 11⁄2 hours easy to moderate Cave tour routes wind through the chambers of Carlsbad Cavern, shown in the illustration above. Public tours view only part of the cave. Beyond these passages are more underground rooms, many of them just as exquisitely decorated. Altogether over 30 miles of passages have been explored. The deepest chamber is 1,037 feet (316 meters) below the surface. Painted Grotto Giant Dome Twin Domes Crystal Spring Dome BIG ROOM DEVIL’S DEN 500 feet (152m) below surface
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Carlsbad Caverns National Park Canyons & Caves Newsletter of the Resources Stewardship & Science Division Vol. 43, No. 1 January, 2017 Canyons & Caves 43(1) 2017 1 Editor’s Letter We are excited to resurrect the Canyons and Caves newsletter with this issue. We feel it is absolutely critical that we provide the latest information to park staff, so each of you can answer the thoughtful questions that our visitors are asking. Because the newsletter will come out quarterly, we hope to keep you abreast of upcoming resource management events and research projects. We also hope to be able recognize our successes and let other parks and researchers know about the status of on-going projects and research. This electronic newsletter is the vehicle we hope to accomplish all this with. Canyons and Caves will be divided into the Physical, Biological, and Cultural sciences, the three programs of the Resource Management Division. We are lucky to have Cathryn Hoyt as our production editor, as she brings a fresh and professional look to Canyons and Caves. Calendar January • Jan 19: Ellen Trautner presentation on new discovery in Lechuguilla. Pecos Valley Grotto meeting, 7:00 pm, at National Cave and Karst Research Institute. • Jan 21-28: Dr. Hazel Barton is leading a Lechuguilla expedition • Jan 28-Feb 4: National Cave Rescue Commission regional training in Bend, TX February • Jan 29-Feb 4: Paul Burger surveying in Spider Cave • Feb 16: Pecos Valley Grotto Meeting, 7 pm, at NCKRI • Feb 17-20: Cave Research Foundation Restoration weekend in Carlsbad Cavern • Feb 24-Mar 4: Derek Bristol leading a Lechuguilla expedition March • Mar 13-17: David Levy sampling water in Lechuguilla Cave • Mar 16: Pecos Valley Grotto Meeting, 7 pm, at NCKRI • Mar 25-Apr 1: Bat Echolocation Symposium in Tucson, AZ April • Apr 12-13: Lint Camp with Pat Jablonsky • Apr 13-17: Cave climatologist Andreas Pflitsch will be in the park. • Apr 20: Pecos Valley Grotto Meeting; 7 pm, at NCKRI • Apr 22: NSS Southwest Region Spring Meeting at Parks Ranch Cave 2 Canyons & Caves Vol. 43 (1) 2017 Canyons & Caves Newsletter of the Resources Stewardship & Science Division Vol. 43, Issue 1 January 2017 EDITORIAL Rod Horrocks Editor Ellen Trautner Associate Editor Cathryn Hoyt Production Editor CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS Luis Florez Rod Horrocks Cathryn Hoyt Sam Denman Ellen Trautner PHOTOGRAPHERS & ARTWORK Gosia Allison-Kosior Dan Austin Luis Florez Tim Fogg Jennifer Foote Art Fortini Cathryn Hoyt James Hunter Jaco Webber Max Wisshak EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES Resources Stewardship & Sciences Division 3225 National Parks Highway Carlsbad, NM 88220 rod_horrocks@nps.gov www.nps.gov/cave Image Front Cover: Hazel Barton, dressed in a wet suit with hoodie, swims across Lake Castrovalva in Lechuguilla Cave. Photo by Tim Fogg. Luis Florez, John Davis, and John Mitchell show off their day’s haul after pulling Johnson grass at Rattlesnake Springs. Photo by Jaco Webber. Contents Editor’s Letter 2 One Strange Rock, Indeed! 4 The Squeeze: Resource Notes & News 10 Physcial Sciences Biology Cultural Resources Photo Essay: Butterflies of Carlsbad Caverns National Park 22 Meet the Staff 24 Recent Publications 26 Canyons & Caves 43(1) 2017 3 “One Strange Rock,” Indeed! by Ellen Trautner 4 Canyons & Caves Vol. 43 (1) 2017 In late October 2016, I accompanied crew members from Nutopia, a London-based production company, into Lechuguilla Cave to film a sequence for an upcoming National Geographic series called “One Strange Rock.” This ten episode event will air in 2018 and will feature all the many strange and unique ways life has developed on this planet. Filming in Lechuguilla focused on microbial life that thrives in the extreme cave environment. Because travel time to and from the filming sites would have been very slow if we came from the surface each day, we camped in the cave for eight days and seven nights. There were six of us who spent the entire week underground. This included four crew members from Nutopia: Chris, the assistant producer and including Rod, and they gave me advice on packing and logistics. We entered the cave on October 21st. Between onsite director, Johnny the cameraman, Mark the film crew, sherpas, a microbiologist and myself, sound guy, and Tim the rope safety advisor. Dr. there were eleven people entering the cave. To Hazel Barton, a well-known microbiologist who avoid bottlenecks at the entrance rope and Boul- has been coming to Lechuguilla for almost twenty der Falls, we divided into three groups and spaced years, rounded out our camping group. Besides our entries about an hour apart. I was part of the the six of us who were in there continually, Nuto- last group, and we entered the cave a little after pia had hired six very experienced Lechuguilla one p.m. Down, down, down we went, deeper cavers to be their sherpas. Each day, a team of into th
Guadalupe Mountains National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Visitor Guide 2015 summer/fall Find Your A Sky FullAdventure of Wonder and a Mosaic of Biodiversity Through the Seasons, The Beauty of the Guadalupes Remains Spring By Michael Haynie The interplay of light and shadow and their changing proportions through the seasons act as the warp and weft of the beautifully complex landscape of the Guadalupes. Nature, the master weaver who stitches it all together, has saved her most valued yarn to make sure it does not unravel. The silver thread of water hidden in remote canyons, running through scattered springs, and saved for a seasonal flourish when many would assume the desert would be at its hottest and driest, the summer, becomes the strength and support of a delicate fabric that we must handle with care. Easily torn, and time-consuming to mend, the varied environments of Guadalupe Mountains National Park are part and parcel of a precious heirloom that we bequeath to future generations. Such variety offers delightful surprises throughout the year as the seasons turn, some because they contradict what we would expect for a desert, and others because they do not mesh with the archetypal division of the year into four NPS Photos/M. Haynie On the Guadalupe Ridge Trail Summer Fall Winter seasons. Spring temperatures can be mild or extremely variable, accompanied by high winds. April showers are sporadic and often are measured only in the hundreths of an inch. Summer with increased light and heat, splits in two…before the monsoon rains, and after. Adding a little water this way has a transformative effect, bringing dormant seeds into their fullness. Fall brings welcome respite from the heat, and one of the greatest surprises of all…a beautiful display the sunset’s palette of colors held gently for a few weeks in the leaves of maples, ash, walnut, and sumacs. Bright orange, yellow, and scarlet deepen to amber, gold, and crimson from mid-October to mid-November. Winter’s shorter days range from cool to cold, but the nights are often freezing. Snow is rare, and high winds are again common. While the night sky here is always dazzling, the longer nights and clearer air of winter make for excellent viewing of the ancient light of stars and galaxies. For those with telescopes, this time of year offers excellent views of the Orion and Crab nebulas. For those without, extra gear is not needed to enjoy the seasonal highlight of the Geminid meteor shower in mid-December. cooler. Most nights will have freezing temperatures. Visibility is often better, so hikes to the highcountry offer distant vistas and viewing the night sky is often at its best. Before you visit, be sure to check out our safety information regarding the weather (page 5) and bring everything you need. With adequate preparation, Guadalupe Mountains National Park can be enjoyably visited all year long. Spring and fall are the busiest seasons. Visiting during these times allows you to avoid the more extreme temperatures of the summer and winter and to see some spectacular seasonal phenomena, whether its the bursting forth of new life in mid- to late-spring (April May), to the winding down of the year with one last hurrah of color in the fall. The first part of summer is the hottest, with afternoon and evening rains (usually short-lived thunderstorms) common in the latter part of summer. Flowers are more abundant, and as the monsoon rains become more reliable, a renewed burst of growth occurs, greening the grasses and freshening the air. In winter, temperatures may be mild during the day (50s or 40s), but winds can make them feel much The park has limited driving opportunities, but if you are willing to explore some of our trails, which range from accessible nature trails, to moderate canyon hikes and strenuous mountain hikes, you can discover one of the most biologically diverse areas in West Texas and experience a wilderness landscape preserved in perpetuity. Inside Got a Wild Question About the Park? Ask Lupe the Ringtail! The Other Side of the Mountain Hiking Information Prepare for Changeable Weather Wildlife & You Wildland Caving & Sitting Bull Falls (Lincoln National Forest) Nearby Attractions 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The National Park Service was created in the Organic Act of 1916. The new agency’s mission as managers of national parks and monuments was clearly stated. “....to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” To support that mission, the collecting of natural and historic objects is prohibited. Telephone and Web Directory Greetings Welcome to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects one of the world’s best examples of a fossil reef, diverse ecosystems, and a cultural heritage tha
Guadalupe Mountains National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Visitor Guide 2015 summer/fall Fall/Winter 2019 Find Your A Sky FullAdventure of Wonder and a Mosaic of Biodiversity On the Guadalupe Ridge Trail Photo by Artist in Residence Ethan Smith Greetings W e lc o m e t o Gua d a lu p e M o u n ta i n s National Park. Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects one of the world’s best examples of a fossil reef, diverse ecosystems, and a cultural heritage that spans thousands of years. Our park staff are here to help make your visit a truly memorable event and will be happy to help you plan your visit in the park and surrounding areas. Guadalupe Mountains National Park has over 80 miles of hiking trails to explore, ranging from wheelchair accessible paths to strenuous mountain hikes, including an 8.4 mile roundtrip hike to Texas’ highest mountain, Guadalupe Peak (8,751'). As you travel and spend time in the area please remember to keep safety in mind. Deer and other wildlife are plentiful—enjoy watching wildlife, but remember they often move across roads, especially in the evenings; be vigilant while driving during twilight hours. Hikers should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. Hikers can become dehydrated in our dry climate, so carry plenty of water (one gallon per person per day is recommended). Always check with a ranger before venturing into the backcountry. We wish you a rewarding experience in every way. Sincerely, Eric Brunnemann Superintendent By Elizabeth Jackson Guadalupe Mountains National Park is full of wonderful surprises. From the disappearing streams of McKittrick Canyon to the Sky Island coniferous forest and meadow of the Bowl trail, no matter where you hike in the park, there is always something unique to experience and learn. One area of the park that is often overlooked is the Salt Basin Dunes. Located along the western area of the park, they are tucked away, down a secluded, rugged road. This is an area where expensive cars fear to travel. The Salt Basin Dunes glisten in the sun, beckoning the adventurous to trek into its white, shifting landscape. Although these sand drifts originated in an area once covered by water 1.8 million years ago, they have no water current to change the ripples now. The wind and wildlife are tasked to paint patterns in the sand here. Created by a fault in the crustal rocks some 26 million years ago, the gypsum grains cover almost 2,000 acres on the western range of the park. This stunning, austere beauty calls the visitor who is looking to explore more remote areas. The Salt Basin Dunes picnic area and trailhead are located 50 miles from the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Travel west for 23 miles along Highway 62/180 and turn right on FM 1576 just before you reach the town of Salt Flat. Travel north 17 miles and then turn right on William’s Road. Continue on the dirt packed road for 8.5 miles. Use caution and travel slowly. There is no water, so be sure to bring what you need. An alternate route to the dunes incorporates a visit to Dell City first. Travel west on Highway 62/180 for 30 miles and turn right on FM 1437. Continue for 13 miles, and look on the left side for the familiar National Park Service arrowhead signaling the park contact station. Enter the parking lot into the Dell City Contact station to visit the new exhibits and listen to a brief electronic narration regarding park logistics and information on the dunes site. From the contact station, visitors can continue to the dunes by driving north through town and turning right on FM 2249 and then right on FM 1576. Then turn left on William Road (about one mile from FM2249). When visitors arrive to this day use area, they can learn more about the dunes and the western escarpment formation from the recently installed interpretive wayside exhibit that provides visitor information on the geology of the ex- Inside Parks as Neighbors Page 2 Got a Wild Question About the Park? Page 2 Ask Lupe the Ringtail! P.B. King: Geology Giant of the Guadalupes Page 3 posed range. Facilities at the trailhead include accessible parking, RV/bus parking, picnic tables with shade structures, as well as pit toilets. Camping is strictly prohibited in this area. As you begin your 1.5 mile hike to the dunes, you enter ecologically sensitive terrain. The area landscape leading to the dunes is fragile and visitors are asked to stay on the trail. A darkened cryptogamic crust can be observed on the sandy soil alongside the trail. This crust assists vegetation and allows it to take hold, while providing a thinly layered nitrogen source. This delicate layer also helps the dunes resist the strong winds and prevents erosion. Once at the dunes, as you look over to the north end, a sixty foot high dune rises, meeting the nearby western mountain range. Smaller dunes surround the area and soft red quartz grain dunes can be seen north of the Patterson Hills area, giving the illus
If you have... One hour The Pinery Nature Trail Manzanita Springs and/or Smith Springs Trail McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail Indian Meadow Nature Loop (at Dog Canyon) Two - Three hours Smith Springs Trail McKittrick Canyon (to Pratt Cabin) Devil’s Hall Trail Four hours McKittrick Canyon (to the Grotto) Marcus Overlook (at Dog Canyon) One Day Guadalupe Peak Trail The Bowl Trail Permian Reef Trail El Capitan Trail Foothills/Frijole Trail Lost Peak (at Dog Canyon) Pine Springs Visitor Center Trailhead The Pinery Trail 3/4 mile round trip Easy, wheelchair-accessible Discover the desert as you walk from the Visitor Center to the ruins of the Pinery, a Butterfield Trail stagecoach station. The Pinery Trail ends at the Pinery parking area on Hwy 62/180. Modest incline on return trip. Pine Springs Trailhead Guadalupe Peak 8.4 miles round trip Strenuous, 6-8 hours The Bowl 8.5 miles round trip Strenuous, 6-8 hours Devil’s Hall 4.2 miles round trip Moderate, 2.5-3 hours On clear days, the views from the “Top of Texas” (8,749’, 2,667m) are outstanding. the trail is well established and does not require rock-climbing abilities. Avoid the peak during high winds and thunderstorms. Take a high country hike through a coniferous forest, and see how the area is recovering from a wildland fire that occurred in 1990. Recommended route: Tejas Trail, Bowl Trail, Hunter Peak side trip, Bear Canyon Trail, Frijole Trail. After following one mile of constructed trail, turn left and follow the route through the wash. Extremely rocky. Continue for one mile to the Hiker’s Staircase and Devil’s Hall. Do not scramble up slopes or go into caves or shelters. Rocks may be unstable due to flooding that occurred in September, 2013. El Capitan 11.3 mile round trip Moderate to strenuous, 6-8 hours Frijole & Foothills Trails 5.5 miles round trip Moderate, 3-4 hours This trail leads through Chihuahuan Desert to the base of El Capitan at the southern end of the Guadalupe Mountain range. Recommended route: El Capitan Trail, Salt Basin Overlook, and back. The Frijole and Foothills trail make a loop connecting the Pine Springs Campground and the Frijole Ranch. Start at either end. Frijole Ranch Trailhead Smith Spring Trail 2.3 miles round trip Moderate, 1-2 hours Wheel-chair accessible to Manzanita Spring (0.4 miles round-trip). The trail then becomes rocky and is rated moderate. Look for birds, deer, and elk on your way to the shady oasis of Smith Spring. Dog Canyon Trailhead McKittrick Canyon Trailhead National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Guadalupe Mountains National Park Day Hikes Indian Meadow Nature Trail 0.6 miles round-trip Easy Discover the plants and animals of a meadow in the secluded north section of the park. Lost Peak 6.4 miles round-trip Strenuos, 1,500 feet of elevation gain Climb out of Dog Canyon on the Tejas Trail to visit the coniferous forest above. Outstanding views from Lost Peak. There is no trail the last 1/4 mile to the peak. Marcus Overlook 4.5 miles round-trip Moderate, 800 feet of elevation gain Follow the Bush Mountain Trail for 2.3 miles to the ridge top for a view into West Dog Canyon. McKittrick Canyon to Pratt Cabin 4.8 miles round-trip Moderate, 2-3 hours to the Grotto and Hunter Line Cabin 6.8 miles round-trip Moderate, 4-5 hours Follow an intermittent stream through the desert, transition, and canyon woodlands to the historic Pratt Cabin, Grotto Picnic Area, and Hunter Line Cabin. A guidebook is available at the trailhead visitor center. McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail 0.9 miles round-trip Moderate, <1 hour Stroll through the foothills and learn about the natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert. Trailside exhibits. Permian Reef Trail 8.4 miles round-trip Strenuous, 2,000 feet of elevation gain. For serious geology buffs, this trail has stop markers that can be used with a geology guide book available at park visitor centers. There are excellent views into McKittrick Canyon from the top of this ancient Permian structure. Salt Basin Dunes Trailhead Salt Basin Dunes Trail 3-4 miles round-trip Moderate, some of the largest dunes are 60’ high and involve some scrambling Hike to a gypsum dune field with excellent views of the western escarpment. There is no shade, so carry plenty of water and avoid hiking in the midday heat. Visit Safely Bring food and plenty of water. Wear sunscreen and a hat. Carry a trail map. Pack rain gear; sudden weather changes are common. Protect the Park Stay on trails; don’t cut across switchbacks or create new trails. Carry out all trash, including cigarette butts. Report any trail hazards to the Visitor Center.
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Guadalupe Peak Trail Nort ing h - F ac S lo pe Guadalupe Peak d ste Campground re o -F Stock Trail Junction "Around the Bend" Pine Springs Trailhead Stoc k Tr ail Devil's Hall Trail Hall Trail De Ha Peak Stock Trail Junction Guadalupe Peak il Trai l F oot h i lls Trail ! F 9 ! an @ ! it G pe lu a d ua Tr a p Ca il Tra 9 ! ll El Guadalupe Peak Campground 's Pine Springs Trailhead s "Around the Bend" v il ja Te Ü Devil's l rai kT oc St d Guadalupe Mountains National Park Texas Tra i l Pine Springs Visitor Center 62 £ ¤ 180 £ ¤ Total Elevation Gain: 2906 feet Guadalupe Peak X 8751 feet XCampground X"Around the Bend" XStock Trail XPine Springs Trailhead February 2015
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Guadalupe Mountains National Park Texas McKittrick Canyon Trail Day Hikes LINCOLN N. F. New Mexico Texas ! Pratt Cabin!( 5 ! The Grotto McKittrick Canyon Nature Loop (1 mile) 5 ! ! Hunter Line Shack McKittrick Canyon Contact i ! i ! _ Station and Trailhead 5 ! The Notch Ship ! on the Desert Ship R d. E Þ E R ID G Ship on the Desert Gate: Admin Use Only McK it tric kR o ad FR IJ O L McKittrick Canyon Gate: Open 8 am to 4:30 pm (Nov - March) Open 8 am to 6:00 pm (April - October) Ü £ ¤ 180 ! ! 62 £ ¤ ion Legend X X eN Th to r ot eG X McKittrick Ridge Campground McKittrick Canyon Trail Designated Wilderness Park Boundary (Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet) Th tt Pra Mc K it tri Frijole Ranch Ca ck C b in on t ac otc h tS t at X X February 2015 McKittrick Ridge Campground The Notch The Grotto Pratt Cabin tt r ick C an yon Trail Mc Ki McKittrick Canyon Contact Station and Trailhead Canyon Trail Fall Color The Notch Pratt Cabin The Grotto McKittrick Canyon from McKittrick Ridge View from The Notch McKittrick Ridge
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Texas National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Day Hikes Near Pine Springs Pinery Trail Pine Springs Visitor Center Pi n Pinery Ruins e ry The Pinery Trail offers visitors an opportunity to take a quick walk on a paved trail. The trail features signage identifying common local plants. The trail also features ruins of the Old Butterfield Stagecoach Route Pinery Station built in 1858. Elevation Change: 40 feet Tra il @ ! Distance: 0.9 miles (Round-Trip) ! Time Estimate: 20 minutes ! Difficulty: Easy Trail Type: Paved 62 £ ¤ 180 £ ¤ Visitor Center X Visitor Center X Pinery Ruins X R N Sm Smith Spring Trail i th S ES rin Sp Distance: 2.3 miles (Round-Trip) g Elevation Change: 402 feet Time Estimate: 1.5 hours il Tra WI LD E Smith Spring ! Difficulty: Easy - Moderate le Trail Type: Mix ail Tr jo Fri The Smith Springs Loop is paved from Frijole Ranch to Manzanita Spring. It then ascends along a maintained trail to the heavily vegetated Smith Spring. The trail offers dramatic views of the surrounding mountains, foothills, and desert landscape. ! l X X X X X e St ai rc as h TH r in gs Sp @ ! oc En k T te ra i rs l W as e El Ca p it an Trail Pine Springs Trailhead, Parking, and Campground D ri v pe lu Pine ! F i! ! 9 ne il F oothills T rail n nyo Ca a Tr jas The Devil's Hall Trail is a wellmaintained trail for one mile. It then enters a rocky wash, which requires the hiker to scramble over large boulders. The trail offers spectacular views of geologic formations, steep canyon walls, tall trees, and mountaintops. St Trail Type: Mix Trail il Te il Gua da Difficulty: Moderate Teja s Tra l Time Estimate: 2.5 hours Pi a Tr ai Tr Fri jol sT othill rail Fo Trai l X k Ha ll Peak k ea e P Elevation Change: 548 feet Pine Springs Visitor Center De vi l 's c Tra i h nc Ra S E S St o Guad a l up Distance: 3.8 miles (Round-Trip) N Tra il X X Devil's Hall Trail Stock Trail Junction X Fr i j ole Smith Spring À To U.S. Highway 62/180 W I L D E R Tejas The Staircase Trail Enters Wash XM X g le ad as Te j Frijole Ro Devil's Hall ! ! Frijole Ranch O i! ! _! 3 za an n pri aS t i n ijo Fr eR an ch Manzanita Spring X X Devils Hall January 2015
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Texas National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Tejas Trail LINCOLN 137 · Æ Indian Meadows Trail Permian Reef Geology Trail Dog Canyon Ranger Station, Campground, and Trailhead Pratt Cabin ! Tr . il il . Tr McKittrick Nature Trail n Trail n y o Tej a s Kit Ca Mc ck tr i Ship Tr. Bush Juniper Trail Bowl Loop Trail Tejas 9 ! Tejas R d. 9 Mescalero ! Blue Ridge Tr. McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center and Trailhead Tra s Marcu Te ja s Tra Manzanita Ridge Route untain Mo N. F. M cK Bear Canyon Trail Frijole Trail ck R o ad ( / 62 Smith Spring Loop Trail 9 Pine Top ! ittri ( / 180 (Access via Bush Mtn. Trail) Te j Devil's Hall Trail Frijole Ranch as 2 Tr. Guadalupe Peak Tr. Williams Ranch Trailhead ­ El Capitan Trail El Capitan Trail Pine Springs Visitor Center, Campground, and Trailhead Legend 9 ! Campground Tejas Trail Eligible Wilderness Designated Wilderness Salt Basin Overlook Trail Park Boundary Tejas Trail Profile Ra nc 8500 Foothills Trail Pinery Trail Miles Mileage Chart h 1 2 3 4 Mescalero Campground 6000 ! Pine Springs Trailhead Tejas Campground 6500 (0.2 miles to Pine Top CG) 7000 ! ! 5 6 Length (Miles) 7 ! ! McKittrick Trail 7500 Bush Mtn./Bowl Tr. Junction ! ad Elevation (Feet) Ro 8000 8 ! Dog Canyon 9 10 11 12 January 2015
Marker 28 At this highpoint of the trail, you can find evidence that sea levels eventually rose and the reef front moved toward the basin center. The shallow lagoon that would have normally been behind the reef returned. Because evaporation rates were very high in the hot arid environment, the seawater had a high concentration of minerals. Mineral rich water permeated the limestone here, and replaced some of its calcium with magnesium, thus forming dolomite. Note that the reef has been eroded away here, but would have occupied a position a few hundred yards over the edge of the escarpment. Guadalupe Mountains National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior The Permian Reef Trail Guide At this point you are 2,000 feet above the desert floor. You have encountered rocks formed on the seafloor and have seen evidence of the organisms that lived there. You have seen the forces of gravity and wave action working against the reef’s upward growth, and you have found fossils of organisms frozen in the same position they were in millions of years ago. The clues found in the rocks preserved in Guadalupe Mountains National Park tell an unexpected story of life and death hidden in a remote corner of the Southwest. Lagoonal deposits Reef Forereef 14 View from McKittrick Canyon Contact Station Marker 27 The massive cliff at the top of the northeast wall of McKittrick Canyon is a fossil reef that formed approximately 260-270 million years ago. The Capitan Reef grew from the remains of billions of marine animals and plants cemented together by calcium carbonate. You can find another clue that sea levels dropped at this stop. Sheet cracks and teepee structures (tent-like folds in the rocks) are evident along the trail here. Teepee structures may have formed by the expansion of hardening rock between softer layers of unconsolidated sediment. Today, teepee structures are seen in areas around the Persian Gulf in peritidal areas where sediments would be alternately submerged and exposed to the air during tidal cycles. Limy sands and muds were deposited in warm, quiet lagoons behind the reef. These “backreef” layers form horizontal rock beds visible to the left of the reef cliff. A narrow shoal, perhaps consisting of a line of small islands when sea level was low, restricted water circulation between the shallow lagoons and those above and oceanward of the reef. This allowed rapid evaporation of lagoon waters often leading to hypersaline conditions. Fragments of the growing reef edge often broke off and rolled down slope into deep water, mixing with shells, sand, and other sediments to create thick “forereef” deposits. Generations of reef creatures then grew seaward on top of the remains of the old. Sheet crack filled by sediments Water at the base of the forereef deposits was over 1500 feet deep. Fine windblown sand and floating organic debris sometimes crossed the shoal and barrier into the deep, cold water of the Delaware Basin. The organic debris eventually became the source of vast petroleum deposits of the Permian Basin of West Texas. How to Use This Guide... The photos on the following pages were taken near the numbered markers, but not necessarily right next to them, so some searching may be involved. Each stop highlights an aspect of the reef’s story or a fossil from the reef community that will give the user a broad understanding of the Capitan Reef. Fossils are rare, non-renewable resources. Please do not damage or take fossils. Numbered markers not featured in this guide are described in a technical work, written by professional geologists, called Guide to the Permian Reef Trail, McKittrick Canyon, Guadadalupe Mountains National Park, West Texas. This book is available for loan at the McKittrick Canyon Contact Station or for purchase at the Headquarters Visitor Center (Pine Springs). 13 Marker 24 Marker 1 Stromatolites, structures formed by communities of algae, grew only in intertidal areas and they are featured at this stop. Stromatolites are characterized by alternating layers of algae and minerals that formed in mounds. They are an indication that sea levels were somewhat lower for a period of time. After crossing a rocky wash, you will notice beds of rounded rocks cemented together. These rocks pre-date the current downcutting cycle of the stream in McKittrick Canyon. Approximately 40,000 years ago during the Last Ice Age, floodwaters carried rocks to this location. Geologically speaking, the Pleistocene Epoch (11,500 to 1.8 million years ago) was not that long ago. However, the climate was very different than today: rainfall was higher and temperatures were cooler. Rushing streams transported the rocks eroded from the high country. Constant tumbling along the streambed rounded these rocks, and calcium cement in the water bound them together to form a sedimentary rock called conglomerate. Uplift of the mountains and erosion by the stream has exposed them. Stromatolites can b

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