Dinosaur footprints discovery in French caves


This 2016 video says about itself:

Incredible caves are all over the world, for this list we’ve compiled the top 10 most astonishing caves. Each have they own unique facts, history, looks and location but they are all awesome and astounding in their own ways.

10. Ellison’s Cave, USA – 0:08 Ellison’s Cave is a pit cave located on Pigeon Mountain in the Appalachian Plateaus of Northwest Georgia. It is the 12th deepest cave in the United States and features the deepest, unobstructed underground pitch in the continental US named Fantastic Pit. 9. Ice Cave, Russia – 0:43 This incredible cave near the Mutnovsky Volcano in Russia is the result of volcanic fed hot springs running through ice to create an ice cave that has a very shallow roof allowing sunlight to pass through. This cave was discovered by accident in 2012 and is nearly 980 ft. long. 8. Cave of the Swallows, Mexico – 1:12 The Cave of the Swallows is an open air pit cave in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The mouth of the cave is 160 by 203 feet wide further widening to a room approximately 994 by 442 ft wide.[2] The floor of the cave is a 1214 ft free fall drop from the top making it the largest known cave shaft in the world, the second deepest pit in Mexico and perhaps the 11th deepest in the world. 7. Waitomo Glowworm Cave, New Zealand – 1:45 The Waitomo Glowworm Caves on the North Island of New Zealand is known for it’s spectacular glowworms. This species of glowworms is found exclusively in New Zealand and are the size of an average mosquito. If you are so keen to see the glow worms you can join an organized boat tour that goes right underneath them. 6. Phraya Nakhon Cave, Thailand – 2:15 Phraya Nakhon Cave in Thailand is located 4 hours south of Bangkok. It’s a fairly accessible cave to the public as it is only a 30 minute sweaty hike to reach the cave. King Chulalongkorn built the Kuha Karuhas pavilion inside the cave in 1890, when he fell in love with the beauty of the cave during his visit. If you want there is a Boat that will drop you off in some murky water at the entrance of the cave for 300 Baht but is only operational in good weather conditions. 5. Antelope Canyon, USA – 2:45 Antelope Canyon is primarily a water eroded rock canyon located near the city of Page, in the northern part of the state of Arizona Antelope Canyon is a known for its smooth, wavy walls of sandstone, caused mainly by flash flooding and rain 4. Batu Caves, Malaysia – 3:24 The Batu Caves contain a Buddhist temple created on the edge of a cliff in Myanmar, and is the unassuming entrance to Kyaut Sae Cave. Legend has it, that in the 13th century the massive cave was originally used as a place of hiding for locals who wanted to hide from the Mongols. 3. Fingal’s Cave, Scotland – 3:43 Fingal’s Cave, located in on an uninhabited island called Staffa, is 72 feet tall and 270 feet deep. This sea cave a one of a kind with visually astonishing hexagonal columns made of basalt. It was formed by the cooling on the upper and lower surfaces of the solidified lava which resulted in contraction and fracturing. 2. Son Doong Cave, Vietnam – 4:33 Son Doong Cave in Vietnam is the largest cave discovered on earth. It was discovered in 1991 by a local man but not fully explored until 2009. Son Doong Cave has a max depth of 490 feet and max length of 30,000 feet. It was created by a large vertical fault in the limestone that was flooded by river water which carved it’s way deep under the surface for millions of years. Having limestone walls that run in a nearly in a straight line allows for much greater stability, which is what has allowed this cave to get so big. 1. Naica Mine, Mexico – 5:23 This incredible cave was accidentally found by the Naica mining company as they were drilling deep for silver, lead and zinc. They noticed a large crystal which appeared to be made of ice but considering the temperature inside the cave is 136 Fahrenheit or 58 degrees Celsius they knew immediately it was a large rare crystal growth.

By John Pickrell, April 27, 2020 at 6:00 am:

Deep caves are a rich source of dinosaur prints for this paleontologist

Several deep caves in France are proving to be a surprising source of ancient tracks

Crawling through tight underground passages in southern France, paleontologist Jean-David Moreau and his colleagues have to descend 500 meters below the surface to reach the only known footprints of long-necked dinosaurs called sauropods ever found in a natural cave.

The team discovered the prints, left by behemoths related to Brachiosaurus, in Castelbouc Cave in December 2015 (SN: 2/21/18). But getting to the site might make even the most hardened field scientists balk. Wriggling through such dark, damp and cramped spaces every time they visit is challenging for elbows and knees, and even trickier when carrying delicate equipment such as cameras, lights and laser scanners.

It’s both physically exhausting and “not comfortable for someone claustrophobic”, with the researchers spending up to 12 hours underground each time, says Moreau, of the Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté in Dijon. It can be dangerous too, as some parts of the cave are periodically flooded, so accessing the deep chambers must be limited to periods of drought, he says.

Moreau has studied fossilized dinosaur footprints and plants for more than a decade in southern France’s Causses Basin, one of the richest areas for aboveground dinosaur tracks in Europe. When spelunkers chanced upon some underground prints in 2013, Moreau and his colleagues realized there could be lots of dinosaur prints within the region’s many deep, limestone caves. Footprints left in soft mud or sand hundred million years ago could have been turned to rock and forced underground over many eons.

And deep caves, being less exposed to wind and rain, “can occasionally offer larger and better-preserved surfaces [imprinted by dinosaur steps] than outdoor outcrops,” Moreau says.

Moreau’s team is the only one to have discovered dinosaur footprints in natural caverns, though prints also have been found around the world in human-made railway tunnels and mines. “The discovery of dinosaur tracks inside a natural karstic cave is extremely rare,” he says.

The first subsurface dinosaur prints that the team found were 20 kilometers away from Castelbouc at a site called Malaval Cave, reached via an hour-long clamber through an underground river with several 10-meter drops. “One of the main difficulties in the Malaval Cave is to walk taking care to not touch or break any of the delicate and unique [mineral formations],” Moreau says.

Those three-toed prints, each up to 30 centimeters long and detailed in 2018 in the International Journal of Speleology, were left by carnivorous dinosaurs walking upright on their hind legs through marshland about 200 million years ago.

In contrast, the five-toed herbivore tracks in Castelbouc Cave are each up to 1.25 meters long and were left by three enormous herbivorous sauropods that walked the shoreline of a sea about 168 million years ago. What’s more, these prints are on the cave’s ceiling 10 meters above the floor, the team reports in a study published online March 25 in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

In fact, “the tracks we see on the roof are not ‘footprints’, they are ‘counterprints’”, Moreau explains. “The dinosaurs walked on a surface of clay, which is nowadays totally eroded to form the cave. Here, we only see the overlying layer [of sediment that filled in the footprints],” leaving reverse prints bulging out of the ceiling. It’s similar to what you’d see if you filled a footprint in mud with plaster and then washed all of the mud away to leave the cast.

The tracks are important as they hail from a time in the early to mid-Jurassic Period from 200 million to 168 million years ago when sauropods were diversifying and spreading across the world, but relatively few fossil bones have been found (SN: 12/1/15). These prints confirm that sauropods then inhabited coastal or wetland environments in what is now southern France.

Moreau is now leading researchers in exploring “another deep and long cave, which has yielded hundreds of dinosaur footprints”, he says. The team has yet to publish those results, which he says may prove to be the most exciting of all.

3 thoughts on “Dinosaur footprints discovery in French caves

  1. Pingback: Dinosaur-age crocodiles walked on two legs | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Australian big carnivorous dinosaurs, new discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Dinosaur footprints, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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