Author Topic: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...  (Read 11945 times)

Offline Ed W

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Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« on: December 24, 2008, 09:42:16 am »
OK, its a bit of a personal crusade, but I think most Limestone Cavers are of th eopinion that Lava Tube Caves are boring.  I have started this thread to show a few photos of lava tubes, hopefully other will contribute too, which may just get a few more people interested, or at least not look quite so far down their noses at these wonderful phenomena.

Now, hoepfully if I have followed Sam T's advice, here are a few photos taken on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, in September.  This is probably tha Volcanic World's equivalent to Mulu, Big, long caves with outstanding features.



This photo shows a fine canyon type passage in Manjanggul.  Not the "tube" that some imagine all lava tubes are like. Also you can see the shelves at various heights in the passage which indicate various flow levels during activity.



The above photo shows a lava shelf in Handeolgul.  This shelf would have formed at the level where the lava was flowing at the time.



This is a rafted block in Susangul.  The block would have floated on the flowing lava, and then jammed, and been eroded into this streamlined shape by the hot lava.

I will try and upload some photos of lava formations soon, but doe sanyone else have some good photos of lava caves?

Cheers,

Ed

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Offline Brains

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2008, 03:47:34 pm »
I have always been curious about these tubes, and would be interested to learn more. I assume the explorable ones are all of quite recent origin? What is the oldest explorable cavity, or put another way, there is old vulcanism in the UK, so what are the chances of exploring a British lava tube?

Offline graham

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2008, 03:50:09 pm »
... so what are the chances of exploring a British lava tube?

Vanishingly small.
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Offline langcliffe

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2008, 03:50:54 pm »
I think most Limestone Cavers are of th eopinion that Lava Tube Caves are boring.

I haven't spoken to "most Limestone cavers" about lava tube caves, but the ones I have spoken to about the subject certainly don't think that way.

Offline Brains

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2008, 04:02:04 pm »
... so what are the chances of exploring a British lava tube?

Vanishingly small.

Sadly as I suspected, so at what age is a lava terrain going to be too old? Certainly less than the tertiary vulcanism of Skye and the Giants causeway... is there any dating evidence from Iceland? How do old tubes dissapear - from erosion, sediment infill, collapse, maybe even mineralisation... have there been any cases of streamways occupying old lava tubes (which are fluid formed under gravity after all)?

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2008, 04:20:32 pm »
And there's me thinking that the Giant's causeway was made by Finn McCool as a quick route to Scotland.  :-[
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Offline langcliffe

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2008, 04:29:37 pm »
at what age is a lava terrain going to be too old?

Pass - but those in the Harrat Rahat have been dated to about 10 million years old. I understand that the main sources of disappearance are in-fill and erosion from the surface. Most collapses occur when the the tube is drained rather than later.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2008, 05:14:57 pm »






Offline Brains

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2008, 06:42:00 pm »
Good pics

Perhaps a list of reference works would be of help, there seem to be many questions and not many answers!
This board could do with a bibliography and a FAQ's sticky topic? Is this a task for our tame academic with his stick?  ;D

Offline Les W

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2008, 06:50:20 pm »
Here is a good link to a website that explains quite a lot about lava tubes

http://www.goodearthgraphics.com/virtual_tube/virtube.html

Good photo examples as well.   :bow:

A useful resource if you're just starting with lava tubes.  :thumbsup:
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Offline graham

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2008, 07:42:48 pm »
I hear tell that there are some short lengths of tube in France, near the Puy de Dome.
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Offline mmilner

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2008, 08:31:13 pm »
Fantastic photos Ed. And very interesting. Would love to see more...
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Offline Ed W

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2008, 09:40:01 am »
Firstly, sorry Langcliffe - of course I haven't spoken to "Most Limestone Cavers", and you are right, there are many who are fascinated by lava tubes.  The phrase I used was a bad one, what I was trying to get across is that there is that at least some cavers fail to appreciate the finer points of lava tubes as decent information about them is difficult to get hold of - hence this thread.

Brains, unfortunately there is not much in the way of good referenced material out there.  "American Caving" by Bill Halliday has some good info, and for information about Vulcanospeleogenesis nothing is better than the various articles written by Chris Wood in the 1970s (in BCRA Transactions I think).  I have heard throughthe grapevine that Dave Bunnel is about to publish some form of book on Lava Tubes, and that Chris Wood is in the early stages of putting together a more scientific volume.  the link that Les W provides is excellent, another good site with many links to volcanic caving is;  http://www.vulcanospeleology.org/

As to lava tube age?  The concensus appears to be that the majority of lava tubes are relatively young, typically age measured in hundreds or a few thousands of years.  However, the cave sin the first three photos are in the 300,000 to 500,000 year old bracket (and still look as fresh as 200 year old caves I have been in in Iceland).  I have heard rumours of older lava tubes, into the millions of tears but have never visited such places myself.  I would agree that most breakdown occurs during cooling, but it does continue throughout the cave's life - freeze/thaw being a big factor in places like iceland.  Also as the caves tend to be rather shallow, breakdown can breach the roof quite quickly.  Sediment infill is common, and yes streams do invade lava tubes reasonably commonly;





Graham, I have a reference to a couple of cave sin volcanic rocks in France, one of which might just be a lava tube.  I have also heard rumours of a lava tube in the Pyrenees.  I would agree that the chances of finding a lava tube cave in the UK are vanishingly small, but there are features seen in the UK (Mull I think) which have been interpreted as filled tubes which have been truncated by erosion.

Finally, lava tubes can have formations every bit as fantastic as limestone caves.  These can be formed of lava (primary formations which are created with the cave) or secondary (form later in much the same way as calcite formation, but can be a wide variety of minerals).  The photos below show some straws and stalagmites.







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Offline ttxela

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2008, 03:35:59 pm »
... so what are the chances of exploring a British lava tube?

Vanishingly small.

Sadly as I suspected, so at what age is a lava terrain going to be too old? Certainly less than the tertiary vulcanism of Skye and the Giants causeway... is there any dating evidence from Iceland? How do old tubes dissapear - from erosion, sediment infill, collapse, maybe even mineralisation... have there been any cases of streamways occupying old lava tubes (which are fluid formed under gravity after all)?

Aren't some of the mineral deposits in the Peak formed from lava flowing through old cave passages* or have I got the wrong idea?

*I suppose that's sort of the opposite of what's being talked about though :-[
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Offline graham

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2008, 04:17:04 pm »
You are right in that some of the caves of the Peak are old caves that were later mineralized by "mineralizing fluids" welling up from deep in the earth, which the lead miners then dug out and sold much later on. but all that stuff is in limestone and is thus completely different from lava tubes.
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Offline Les W

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2008, 12:51:17 am »
I have heard through the grapevine that Dave Bunnel is about to publish some form of book on Lava Tubes,

https://nssbookstore.org/index.php?mode=store&submode=showitem&itemnumber=07-1119-2279
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Offline psychocrawler

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2009, 02:48:12 pm »
Try Undara in Queensland Australia. Plenty of wildlife too.


Offline underwhere

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2009, 06:01:52 pm »
I like lava tubes too, but I'm not a good photographer. Here's my snaps of Cueva Miranda, La Palma, Canary Islands. You'll gather that I'd never seen carbide lamps.
http://s229.photobucket.com/albums/ee165/underwhere2/La%20Palma%20lava%20tube/?start=20

Offline susie

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2009, 06:35:28 pm »
The only lava tubes that I've been in were some fairly small ones in the caldera of Teide in Tenerife. Admittedly I was wearing shorts, T-shirt, and a sun hat with a petzl light, but I found them very painful to crawl along.

Offline Les W

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2009, 06:46:19 pm »
Here's my snaps of Cueva Miranda, La Palma, Canary Islands.

Nice photos. I really like no's 350 and 360.  :thumbsup:
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Offline Les W

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2009, 07:05:11 pm »
The only lava tubes that I've been in were some fairly small ones in the caldera of Teide in Tenerife. Admittedly I was wearing shorts, T-shirt, and a sun hat with a petzl light, but I found them very painful to crawl along.

Were you actually in the caldera or just outside?

There are some tubes just outside called Cuevas de Samara which are quite near the road and quite short.
There is a more extensive system of tubes actually in the caldera near "les Roques" which is called Cuevas Negras (Black Cave). This Tube system is actually off the permitted areas and paths of the Teide National Park, so official access requires a permit (and a good reason), however quite a lot of people visit them because they are so near a major tourist spot.
The penalties for going off the paths in the National Park can be quite swingeing (when we got caught they started by threatening fines of over €6000.00  :o ) but I don't think they actually enforce them much on foreign tourists because it is counter productive.
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Offline susie

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2009, 08:09:05 pm »
Were you actually in the caldera or just outside?

There are some tubes just outside called Cuevas de Samara which are quite near the road and quite short. There is a more extensive system of tubes actually in the caldera near "les Roques" which is called Cuevas Negras (Black Cave).

We were inside the caldera, west of but within a kilometre of the road between the Parador and the cable car. My notes made at the time (April, 1999) say:

"...within the pahoehoe lava above Los Roques de Garcia on Monte Teide. There are three entrances in a line over a distance of about 500 metres with a vertical range of possibly 60 metres. The first, and lowest, entrance is a flat out crawl which drops into a larger (3 by 3 metre) tube. The second is a more obvious entrance, with the larger way on being a smallish passage dropping sharply into a larger passage which connects to the lowest entrance. The top entrance located, near the top of the flow, is a large collapse entrance, with a large obvious passage leading off. This is firmly gated after 30 metres or so, presumably to stop tourists (like me!) from wandering down. However, scratching around smaller passages eventually led into a large passage which eventually connected with those already explored. "

Offline Les W

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2009, 08:33:24 pm »
You were in Cuevas Negras.
The gate is to "protect" some form of cave fauna that isn't there now.
Persons unknown have bent one of the bars so we were able to post the thinnest member of our party through and he explored the rest of the passage to a conclusion. The fatter members of our group waited by the gate.  ;D

Sounds like you pretty much covered the whole complex. I remember it was quite dry and dusty. Kneepads are a must on lava as are strong gloves but t shirts and shorts are fine (I wear a cotton boiler suit as well), anything more and you will overheat and dehydrate.
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Offline underwhere

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2009, 10:02:31 pm »
Here's my snaps of Cueva Miranda, La Palma, Canary Islands.

Nice photos. I really like no's 350 and 360.  :thumbsup:

Ah, you spotted the ones I didn't take.  :clap2:

Offline Les W

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2009, 01:08:36 am »
You were in Cuevas Negras.
Sorry I made a mistake you were actually in Cueva de los Roques.  :-[

Cuevas Negras is a bit further west and seriously out of bounds.
I have of course never been there.  :-\
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Offline susie

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2009, 08:06:43 am »
Sorry I made a mistake you were actually in Cueva de los Roques.

But the rest of your post was accurate?

Offline graham

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2009, 09:55:58 am »
Cuevas Negras is a bit further west and seriously out of bounds.
I have of course never been there.  :-\

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Offline Les W

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2009, 12:02:03 pm »
The rest of that post was accurate.
The bit in my last post concerning Cuevas Negras
Quote
I have of course never been there.
may not be accurate.  :-\
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Offline zippy

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Re: Lava Tubes Are Boring? or what everyone else has been missing...
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2009, 09:11:03 am »
Just come into this as a newbie...

NO - lava tubes are not boring, although if you'd asked me this a year back I would probably have answered differently.  Spent some time furtling around the lava tubes in Hawaii last year and was very pleasantly surprised...  will point people at a photo gallery in due course.
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