Cave

Caverns of Sonora

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Nearly every inch is lined with speleothems.
There are a huge number of speleothems inside. Leah Jones/CC BY-SA 2.0
The spectacular rock formations of Sonora. Leah Jones/CC BY-SA 2.0
There are many reflecting pools in the area. Pawsitive~Candie_N/CC BY-SA 2.0
The caves are glittery and have a golden glow. Leah Jones/CC BY-SA 2.0
Cave bacon can be found inside the complex. DanielCD/CC BY 2.5
Fishtail helictites can be found. DanielCD/CC BY 2.5

Some of the country’s best popcorn, bacon, and soda straws can…

Las Cuevas de las Manos (Cave of Hands)

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There are hundreds of stenciled handprints in the caves.
There also a number of hunting scenes. Joanbanjo/CC BY-SA 3.0
The most common prey of the early hunters was the guanaco, a type of llama. David/CC BY 2.0
The caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. Carlos Zita/CC BY-SA 3.0
A number of animals are depicted on the walls of the caves. Lisa Weichel/CC BY 2.0
The caves are situated near the Pinturas river in Argentina. Lisa Weichel/CC BY 2.0

Las Cueva de las Manos is tucked in the valley of the Pinturas River, in an isolated spot of the Argentine Patagonia, accessible via long gravel dirt roads. The trip can be rough, but is undoubtably worth it: It leads you to some of the earliest known forms of human art, dating back roughly 10,000 years.

The prehistoric…

Scientists Sequence Ancient Neandertal DNA From Cave Dirt

Medieval Cold Snap That Caused Famine And Death Reveals Danger Of Climate Change

An entrance to the archaeological site of Vindija Cave, Croatia where Neandertal DNA was found in the cave sediment.
An entrance to the archaeological site of Vindija Cave, Croatia where Neandertal DNA was found in the cave sediment.

J. Krause/ MPI

An entrance to the archaeological site of Vindija Cave, Croatia where Neandertal DNA was found in the cave sediment.

Need DNA? No body? No problem. New research in Science by an international team of researchers lead by Viviane Slon at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany has shown a relatively straightforward way to sequence the DNA from of our hominin relatives without any of their skeletal remains, greatly expanding the horizons of ancient DNA research.

Extracting animal DNA from sources like sediment, dirt, and water is a roundabout way for scientists to detect hard-to-find species in certain environments, but new research has found this method is also applicable for detecting where hominins once lived thousands of years ago. Archaeological sites in Europe and Asia contain stone tools that were made by hominins like Neandertals, but often there is no trace of skeletal remains. Since…

Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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Strategic Petroleum Reserve imagery
Illustration of salt dome storage in Louisiana Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (Public Domain)
Strategic Petroleum Reserve imagery Department of Energy (Public Domain)
Bryan Mound site plan Department of Energy (Public Domain)
Diagram of the oil extraction procedure Department of Energy (Public Domain)
Strategic Petroleum Reserve imagery Department of Energy (Public Domain)

The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the largest hoard of emergency oil in the world, and the largest repository in the reserve system is stashed inside the Bryan Mound salt dome. Spread across 20 underground caverns, Bryan Mound contains about 250 million barrels of sweet and sour crude, the equivalent of 500 Panamax oil tankers.

Sparky Park
Austin, Texas

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was dreamed…