There are several opportunities to see “cave pearls” when exploring Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park (CA). Cave pearls form when acidic water drips onto grains of sand or tiny stones. The dripping water causes the grains to move so that they do not attach to the cave floor while the calcite within the water causes the grains of sand to grow into bigger pebbles (and then rocks) as more and more calcite covers them. This is a cave pearl found among the rimstone dams in the Fairy Pools formation in the Dome Room at Crystal Cave.
My favorite of the many magnificent cave formations at Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park (CA) was the Fairy Pools. Also located in the Dome Room, these delicate flowstone dam pools are perfectly framed by other cave formations which make them look like they do come out of some type of fairy tale:
The Fairy Pools are right along the cave path which allows you to inspect them closely (not from a distance as with many of the other popular formation within the cave). This allows you to see up close and personal how calcite makes many different types of cave formations in a single spot:
Along with the capital dome formation in the Dome Room at Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park (CA) is one of the largest and most magnificent calcite (bright white – the whiter the calcite, the purer it is) flows I have encountered in the limited number of caves I have explored. It extends from the back of the Dome Room and comes all the way to the walking path in the cave:
One of many spectacular formations within Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park (CA) is the Organ Room. This is a huge cave formation that, when viewed in its entirety, resembles the giant church organs of years gone by.
The Organ Room also gives a good lesson on the effect which people have over time in caves. In the below photo you can see that the cave formation is bright white on the right side and a muddy gray on the right. The dingy look of the rock on the left is from the accumulation of human debris (oil from hands touching, skin flakes, etc) left in the cave over time which hasn’t been cleaned.
After passing Emerald Pools and continuing to follow Yucca Creek within Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park (CA), you soon come to Junction Room. This is the first large room that you come to in Crystal Cave, and as the name indicates, is a junction room that you will eventually come back to during the tour of Crystal Cave. The room is distinctive from the large rectangular rock formation in the center of the room:
In addition to being the junction area of the cave, Junction Room also has a nice display of soda straws and popcorn cave formations:
Yucca Creek also flows directly through Junction Room:
The water that flows through Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park (CA) is Yucca Creek which flows into Cascade Creek. As soon as you move into the entrance of Crystal Cave and pass through the spiderweb gate, you can here the gurgling of Yucca Creek as it passes through the cave:
Yucca Creek also reveals that Crystal Cave is a rare marble cave (only about 5% of the caves in the world are marble caves) like at Oregon Caves National Monument and the river bed reveals the marble of Crystal Cave:
Yucca Creek is evident well into the cave even after passing Emerald Pools:
One of the first cave formation you will come to upon entering Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park (CA) is Emerald Pool. This is a series of fairly large rimstone dams (calcite and other minerals that build up in cave pools which create formations that often look like stairs) filled with water that are still actively growing. Emerald Pool gives a wonderful preview of what is yet to come in Crystal Cave: