Black Widow, Charleston Area, West Coast, NZ.

This is one of several gruesome looking shots I took in one part of the cave Black Widow. Jon Terry and I were the first to explore this part of the cave on an earlier trip, and Jon named it Slaughterhouse Passage on our survey. Parts of it were like something out of a horror movie, with a dark red stalactite above a much brighter red 'pool' on the floor, for example. Other parts looked disturbingly like blood or blood vessels running down the walls.

This part of the cave is quite confined and wet, and the caver is generally wet and hot, which makes taking photos difficult (everything fogs up). If it wasn't for such interesting coloured formation, my camera would have stayed in its waterproof case. Fortunately some of the photos in this case were worth the time and effort.

Presumably this colour is due to some iron amongst the limestone, - iron is relatively common, (the colour of blood is also iron-based).

Copyright (c) 1997, Elwyn Smith

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