28 March 2020

Elephants working in a salt mine. By choice.

Kitum Cave is a non-solutional cave developed in pyroclastic (volcanic) rocks (not, as some have presumed, a lava tube). It extends about 200 metres (700 ft) into the side of Mount Elgon near the Kenyan border with Uganda. The walls are rich in salt, and animals such as elephants have gone deep into the cave for centuries in search of salt. The elephants use their tusks to break off pieces of the cave wall that they then chew and swallow, leaving the walls scratched and furrowed; their actions have likely enlarged the cave over time. Other animals including bushbuck, buffalo and hyenas come to Kitum Cave to consume salt left by the elephants. 
Via Futility Closet.

2 comments:

  1. Non-solutional and also not a lava tube. I can't figure out how it formed even after looking at the Nation Caves Association page:

    https://cavern.com/Learn/cavetypes.asp

    Also interesting, this is a place where several people have contracted Marburg Virus.

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    Replies
    1. That puzzled me too. Hard to understand how a cave formed from volcanic activity would contain salt - unless maybe it's formed by a fracture of an adjacent area that's not lava

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lava_cave

      ??

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