Sunday, 17 June 2018

Inspiration for Veins of the Earth

As mentioned in this post, on vacation I had the chance to visit Carlsbad Caverns in southern New Mexico. I didn't know much about it before visiting but it proved to be one of the most interesting and impressive things I've seen and I've done a fair amount of traveling. I highly recommend seeing it if you're anywhere close or even doing a road trip to go see it.

The darkness proved to be to much for my camera phone but I had brought along my compact camera and managed to take a bunch of pictures that turned out okay. I've selected a bunch to use as inspiration for Veins of the Earth.

The entrance:

Various Stalactites

It's kind of hard to see it in the picture, but the picture blow is more of a wide angle shot of one of the chambers, It kind of illustrates how disorienting things can be. Nothing is really flat, everything is organically shaped. There are tons of protrusions everywhere ranging from boulders to stalactites and stalagmites, to the cave floor sloping up or down. Even though the cavern was light with spot lights to guide you, it was still kind of hard to tell where you were in relation to the chamber you were in. All the protrusions in your visual field serve almost as visual noise where it's hard to tell if they are near or far due to the sizing and similarity of things. Everything kind of looks the same. I can't imagine how hard it would be to navigate using a head lamp where you can only see a small section of the cave at a time. You could look at one area and see a grouping of stalactites, walk around a bit and come back to the same place, look in a slightly different area, a few feet off, see a different set of stalactites, and think you were in a completely new cavern. It's hard to navigate by landmark in this manner.

Hole in ceiling here leads to another chamber:

This is a fairly good picture at giving an idea of what the cavern system was like. Where you can see down the cavern and how round and organic shaped it is with tons of stalactites hanging. Where it's like being in the throat of some beast or something.

This kind of illustrates how deceptive things can be. Although the rock looks soft and wet, it was hard and slippery.

The scale of things was also pretty disorientating. The cave seemed to exist in an almost fractal nature where in this picture although it looks like it's a big cavern, and although some of the caves looked like this, it in fact was tiny. Probably only a foot or two high.

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