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Find the hole!
May 1, 2007 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Does the world's largest natural cavern lie below Mount Konocti in northern California? We might never know. The family who owns the mountain is trying to encourage tourism, but refuses to allow cave exploration. Meanwhile, local businessmen (including a relative of transistor coinventor John Bardeen) are trying to to build a tramway ride to the top of the mountain--with little success to date.
posted by metasonix (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"COME! See the mouth of our lovely cavern! It's very cavernous! But no looking inside it no.. In fact, just stay away... No you can't go in. Must keep ten paces away. No touching either! Security! Keep them at bay! Yes, come see the mouth of our lovely cavern! But don't look at it too long you might hurt your eyes! Avert your eyes! Remember to buy our lovely T-Shirts and snowglobes in the giftshop next door to our lovely cavernous cavern! Before you leave! Right here! You can look at the mouth for a buck! ...my amp goes up to eleven!"
posted by ZachsMind at 9:37 AM on May 1, 2007


You can own a mountain? Shit, I want one!
posted by spicynuts at 9:53 AM on May 1, 2007


From the right vantage point, four of the peaks that make up Mt. Konocti look like a giant woman reclining on the shores of Clear Lake. -w
Surely someone bothered to take a photograph....
posted by Mr Stickfigure at 9:55 AM on May 1, 2007


Find the hole!

That's what she said!
posted by cerebus19 at 9:58 AM on May 1, 2007


There's reputedly a cave on the big island in Hawaii called "Vagina Cave". The interior is supposedly a very anatomically correct vagina/clitoris/vulva thing shaped by lava.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:05 AM on May 1, 2007


Pix please of pussy cave!
posted by Mister_A at 10:23 AM on May 1, 2007


Sorry, googling reveals just a few tidbits about Vagina Cave. It is purportedly a sacred site so those in the know only bring the worthy to visit. No pictures are available that I know of. Isn't the thought comforting enough?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:34 AM on May 1, 2007


Did the Waltons own Walton's Mountain?
Or did they just rent?
posted by Dizzy at 10:36 AM on May 1, 2007


For the publication of a "scientific" organization, that first link is annoyingly full of vague exposition and completely unsupported allegations:

Inside Mount Konocti's cooled magma chambers, the world's largest cavern and tallest volcano shaft may await discovery.
Or maybe not.

...this particular vent is the mother of them all—a tectonic yawn broad enough to invite human passage.
How broad is that? Oh - it seems that about 65 feet into the hole, the narrow tube broadened into a 20-foot chasm, so I guess that motherly yawn is less than 20 feet. Not very remarkable.

The content of the gas emitted from the "mother" spring has yet to be analyzed, but countless other springs in and around the lake spew up bubbling water rich in various "healthy" minerals that provided Clear Lake with its former days of glory.
And what might those minerals be? Is it a secret?

Their oral history allegedly describes a severe drought during which the lake water fell dramatically, exposing a tunnel at the base of Mount Konocti. Pomo explorers said to have entered this tunnel found a gigantic, elevated cavern and lake.
Who is making these allegations about some oral history? Is it the same people who are saying Pomo explorers entered? Is all this stuff made up?

Evidence suggests there is at least one interior cavity in Mount Konocti...
Perhaps you could describe some of this evidence. No?

If the stories are true and the shaft is found it would be the highest underground vertical drop on Earth: over 2,000 feet straight down.
This is just stupid. Caving literature is chock-full of oral-history stories of huge holes in the ground. Even when they are eventually found, they are almost inevitably much, much smaller than the stories described them.

I smell a pile of marketing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:50 AM on May 1, 2007


Just for reference, here is a list of the world's longest and deepest caves. These are caves that people have actually gone into and surveyed with instruments, not "some Indians told Granddad the cave was two miles deep."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:55 AM on May 1, 2007


Sorry, that link is just the deepest caves. Here's the list of the world's longest caves.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:59 AM on May 1, 2007


You can own a mountain?

Tejon Ranch
and Gray Ranch (now the Diamond A) encompass mountain ranges, not just single mountains. I'm sure there are others.
posted by TedW at 11:03 AM on May 1, 2007


Kirth Gerson: what can I say? The natives are full of talk about Konocti and its mysterious caves. A few locals obsess over this subject. One geologist started a tunnel into the mountain about 20 years ago, and has since been barred from the site by the Fowler family. It doesn't help that no scholarly textbook about the Clear Lake area's history has ever been written, or even researched--it is a dark, weird and scary history, judging from what little I've heard and read.

(And one thing the article in the first link doesn't mention: when the divers finally reached the bottom of the lake seep, they found not only silt.....they also found a pile of old shopping carts, stolen long ago from the Safeway in Lakeport. I swear I'm not making this up.)
posted by metasonix at 11:19 AM on May 1, 2007


One geologist started a tunnel into the mountain about 20 years ago, and has since been barred from the site by the Fowler family.

I can just hear Mr Fowler, after his luminescent coyote mask is pulled off, grumbling something about "You meddling kids..."
posted by pracowity at 11:57 AM on May 1, 2007


Metasonix, I'm not holding you responsible for the content of the links, but boy, do I hate that kind of writing. Especially when it appears under something like "Academy of Sciences." There may be all kinds of evidence to support the existence of a large cavity, but exactly none of it is found in that article. The thing is less substantive than the average Reader's Digest article.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:04 PM on May 1, 2007


I thought the article was a very good read, if a bit short on solid details. Thanks!
posted by smably at 12:08 PM on May 1, 2007




Here's a story about a similar place, that differs in at least two respects:
People have actually gone into it.
They claim it's "only" 1000 feet deep.

But it's not without attendant hype: "There's a local legend that a man-eating serpent lives at the bottom of Bushman's Hole..."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:18 AM on May 3, 2007


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