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Down Into the Hidden World of Caves

Evening Seminar

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0808
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This evening, we get to the bottom of caves, long characterized in myth and popular culture as dark, dank subterranean fissures and chambers harboring all manner of unsightly creatures. In an illustrated lecture, Gregg Clemmer lightens up the subject, revealing fascinating natural structures decorated with unusual formations and supporting unique flora and fauna. He explains the various geological processes that have created these spaces and produced dramatically shaped mineral deposits called speleothems, which include stalactites, stalagmites, and aragonite trees.

During this virtual caving experience, encounter the amazing life that thrives in darkness, from bacteria to colonies of bats, sightless fish, and burrowing beetles. The evening ends with a look at how recent dye-tracing of underground rivers is pushing caves’ known limits to places where there’s never before been a photon of light, let alone a boot print.

Clemmer is a fellow of the National Speleological Society.

Smithsonian Connections

Learn about efforts on the part of the National Zoo to save endangered bats from the threat of white- nose syndrome.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)