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Buried Treasures

Constructing and deconstructing cave formations

In the summer of 2003, geologist Leslie A. Melim and two of her undergrads were exploring a 6-meter-by-12-m chamber deep within New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns. As the team members were on their hands and knees conducting a detailed survey of the cave floor, one of the students blurted out, "Hey, what's this?"

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