A Romanian cave sealed for 5.5 million years is slowly being cataloged, with some interesting finds.

Movile Cave has an atmosphere so dangerous that the few scientists who have so far been allowed to visit must use breathing equipment, thanks to low levels of oxygen and high levels of hydrogen sulphide in the air. Most creatures in the cave are thought to have been sealed in over five million years ago, and then evolved features to deal with the dark, such as losing their eyes and growing longer legs and antennae. has more details:

The ecosystem relies entirely upon chemosynthetic bacteria that extract carbon from the air without the aid of light. The most numerous bacteria use carbon dioxide, and others get their carbon from methane. The bacterial film on the water and walls is where all the nutrients enter this ecosystem, and it’s the only known example of such a system. Small animals eat the slime, and larger animals eat them.


Amazing video of the caves at Lava Beds National Monument in California! Over the last half-million years, volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features. With more than 700 caves at Lava Beds, the park is worth exploring!

Watch the full video about Lava Beds’ caves, including its Crystal Cave: Video by Steve Bumgardner.


12 Days of National Conservation Lands, Day 11: Explore our Top 15 #bucketlist Locations in 2016!

1. View manatees on the Florida coast. Visitors to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse can have a front row seat during the winter months to view Florida’s beloved manatees.  Wear polarized sunglasses to maximize your underwater view.

2. Explore a lava tube, ID. Bear Trap Cave in Craters of the Moon National Monument is an easy opportunity to go underground and get a taste of a major lava tube system.  The tube, which once served as a conduit for a major lava flow, can be traced for more than 15 miles. The total cave length accessible from Bear Trap is about 150 feet.

3. Kayak and camp on the continental U.S. coastline’s northernmost island, WA. Patos Island in the San Juan Islands National Monument is a stone’s throw from Canada.   Visitors can camp on the island and explore the headlands and Patos Island Lighthouse, built in 1893. The mountains of Canada and the Cascade and Olympic ranges provide scenic backdrops.

4. Walk in the footsteps of an ancient civilization, UT.  Grand Gulch Wilderness Study Area in Utah is famous for its Ancestral Puebloan cliff ruins and rock art. Hikers and backpackers can follow miles of winding canyons lined with overhanging cliffs that provided shelter to ancient peoples. Some ruins are amazingly inaccessible, perched high on ledges and under overhangs.

5. View the brightest Milky Way under the darkest night skies, AZ.  Arizona’s Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument was designated as an International Night Sky Provence” due to its amazing dark skies and freedom from light pollution.  Come during the summer when the core of the Milky Way is most visible.

6. Fish and raft Montana’s legendary Madison River, MT.  Flowing through the heart of the Beartrap Canyon Wilderness, the Madison offers challenging whitewater and a blue ribbon trout fishery.

7. Hike the Continental Divide, NM. You don’t need to be a mountain goat to explore the Continental Divide in New Mexico.  Segments of the Continental Divide trail in the El Malpias National Conservation Area cross rolling volcanic tablelands dotted with Ponderosa pines & are suitable for day hikes and family outings.

8. Follow the route of Pony Express riders, WY. The Pony Express National Historic Trail follows the corridor of the legendary fast-moving mail service, operated between April 1860 and November 1861. Stop at the National Historic trails Interpretive Center in Casper, WY and learn about nearby trail corridor locations to hike, bike or ride your horse.

9. Pan for gold in California’s Mother Lode, CA. The Merced and North fork of the American Wild and Scenic Rivers are in the heart of CA gold country. Patient prospectors will still find “color” in their pans and everyone is rewarded with spectacular beauty and crystal clear waters.

10. Hike the granddaddy of all slot canyons, UT. Utah’s Buckskin Gulch in the Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness is legendary among slot canyon explorers – No canyon in North America, and probably the world, combines its depth, narrowness and length.

11. Hike the northernmost national recreation trail, AK. The Pinnell Mountain trail in Alaska’s Steese National Conservation Area offers sweeping mountain vistas and brilliant wildflower displays under the unceasing light of the midnight sun. Located 100 miles (161 km) northeast of Fairbanks, this 27-mile  trail traverses mostly tundra with a few scattered black spruce.

12. Float & fish author Zane Grey’s favorite river, OR.  The legendary salmon and steelhead runs along the Rogue first attracted western author Zane Grey to the region in 1919 and later led to its designation as one of the first 8 designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in the country.

13. Drive where the world land speed record was set, NV.  The 100,000 acre playa (dry lake bed) in the Black Rock-High Rock-Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area made history in 1997 when the world land speed record of 766 mph was set.  Visitors can drive on the flat expanse of the playa as long as conditions are dry.

14. Get a jump on your birding life list, AZ. The San Pedro Riparian NCA is a birders paradise where 350 species have been documented. The Globally Important Bird Area attracts thousands of birdwatchers from all over the world each year.  The 100 breeding species represent roughly half the number of known breeding species in North America.

15. Mountain bike through the red-rock of the Colorado Plateau, CO. The Kokopelli’s Area Trail network, located near Grand Junction at the western edge of McInnis Canyon’s National Conservation Area,  is arguably the best collection of trails in Colorado one of the best networks in the entire southwest. Miles of super fine singletrack with amazing views of the Colorado River canyon’s makes Kokopelli’s a World Class trails mecca.

Enjoy National Conservation Lands all year with new 2016 printable monthly calendars; check back each day for a new calendar image. Find your November 2016 image on our My Public Lands Flickr:


Inside a volcano

There are only a few places on earth where you can visit the inside of a dormant volcano’s magma chamber. One of them is located in Iceland, one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. The island is situated on the Mid-Atlantic ridge where the Eurasian and North American plates drift apart and the earth’s crust breaks creating a large number of volcanoes.

Keep reading