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World's longest cave formation still growing

Minerals still accumulate in New Mexico’s Snowy River

PORTLAND, Oregon — Researchers were recently surprised to find that calcite is still accumulating in a kilometers-long, continuous trough of a New Mexico cave that may be the world’s longest cave formation.

The formation’s brilliant white color, as well as its sinuous path through Fort Stanton Cave, near the town of Capitan, has led cavers to dub the feature Snowy River. During recent studies in the cave, scientists found that the typically dry Snowy River occasionally carries water, reported Lewis Land, a geologist at the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in Carlsbad, N.M., during the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

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