Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico is considered to be a natural wonder of the world. Nearly 400,000 people visit the park each year.
Recently, cavers surveying the limestone caverns formed over millions of years came across an unexplored chamber. It's the largest discovery at the park in decades.
The Big Room is hundreds of feet below the earth’s surface. Stalagmites look like they've pierced up through the floor from below. The park has been remapping an area of passages in the ceiling formations.
In October, caver Dereck Bristol climbed 250 feet up into the three-dimensional maze and found an unmapped passage. Thirty feet and half an hour later, it opened up into a small damp room filled with calcite crystals and unusual blue clay.
“Then there's a lot of flow stone,” Bristol described the new room, “that comes down out of the dome that crosses the room and covering the flow stone were thousands of bat bones.”
The explorers have named the room Halloween Hall in honor of the auspicious night the discovery was made.