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Extra Credit
Cave Option

You may visit Mitchell’s Caverns and write a report for up to 50 points of extra credit. You may do the report in groups and it should consist of the following:

    1. Describe the landscape you pass as you drive out to the caverns. Shortly before arriving at Ludlow, you should be able to spot Pisgah, a pyroclastic cone that sits just to the south of the freeway. You will be able to view typical desert landscape and desert pavement. If you take the old road between Ludlow and Essex, you will pass by the pyroclastic cones, Dish Hill and Amboy Crater, as well as Bristol Playa.
    2. Describe the general setting of the caverns; i.e. where are they in relation to the hill tops, what type of rocks are they in, and what is the present climate.
    3. What is the age of the rock the caves are in and when did the caves begin to form?
    4. Sketch and label and/or describe examples of the speleothems you see in the caverns. Be sure to include the two relatively rare speleothems found at Mitchell’s Caverns.
    5. Attach all ticket stubs or a group photo to the report; the photo should be taken by the headquarters building or sign.

Mitchell Caverns

The visit to the caverns requires about a 3 hour drive into the Mojave Desert. You take the 15 Freeway north to Barstow. At Barstow, change to the 40 Freeway. Note that gas is expensive at Barstow but the cost is much higher at Ludlow so fill up if you need gas! There is a lot of space between services so make sure you have water/food and everything that your vehicle needs.

Ludlow is the last place you can obtain any services on your way to the cave. You can travel by either the freeway or old route 66 between Ludlow and Essex. I suggest that you take the more scenic way back so you won’t miss the tour or the turn at Essex!

You will travel quite some distance to the Essex off ramp(aprox. 323 km/202 miles). When you exit the freeway, turn left and continue another 25 km/16 miles to the caves. They are located at the end of the road; you will need to take the left fork when the road splits. Since this is a very long drive, you must travel with someone else. Your companions do not need to be in the class. Several students can get togather and share one vehicle for the drive, it would cut costs!

The tour of the cave involves some walking on a narrow trail outside in the desert as well as stairs within the cave. You may want to review the exhibts in the vistor's center and discuuss the caverns with the ranger instead of taking the hike, but DO NOT have someone go and buy a ticket for you and not go yourself. It plays havoc with your grade. If your vehicle is not in good condition, do not make the trip!

The cost of the tour is about $4 for adults. You can check on cost and times of the tours by calling (760) 928-2586.


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