Watch this marvelously magical time-lapse of glowworms inside Waitomo Caves. Maybe you could create the same effect in your cave using tinsel or a pipe-cleaner crystal that you made in Crystal Magician...!
Find out how caves are made in nature by making your own Gollum’s grotto or real-life Minecraft cavern!
What to do
Your mission is:
1. WATCH THIS!
2. A SWEET CAVE
Get your sugar cubes (don't eat them – you'll need them!) and container.
Decide on what shape you want your cavern to take and build it ‘inside out’ by piling up sugar cubes. Make sure they line up against the side of the container.
3. CLAY COVER
Mould modeling clay 2-3cm deep over the top of the sugar cubes to make the earth and base layer for the landscape. Seal it tightly.
4. GROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT!
Go wild decorating your above-ground landscape! Maybe make your own Misty Mountain, or fence yourself up a farm.
You can load it up with plants, grass, and animals – cows and kiwis or robots and unicorns!
5. HOLEY CLAY!
Carefully stick some holes through the clay layer on top of the sugar cubes using a toothpick (or a knitting needle – preferably one without a scarf or your Nana attached to it).
Make sure the holes go all the way through the clay to the sugar cubes.
6. WATER WORKS
Spray warm water over the holes and let it seep on through …
(Note: it can take quite a bit of water, so keep working that spray bottle or water sprinkler.)
Watch the water on its journey to dissolve the sugar cubes and reveal your hidden chamber!
Tip #1: adding food dye to the water makes the sweet-as sugary disappearing act easier to see.
Tip #2: if there's too much water, get an adult to drill a hole in the container's bottom corner, drain out the water and voila: DIY CAVE!
8. UPLOAD TO THE JUDGES
When your cave is cool, take a photo and upload to Wild Eyes. You have made a wonder of nature. Mega caves like Waitomo in the North Island took thousands of years to dissolve; your cave takes just an afternoon! Think about that – and kids: don't eat too much sugar!
Think out of the box inside the box: could you make your own stalagmites or stalactites or a hanging garden of glow-worms (try tinsel or pipe-cleaner crystals you made in Crystal Magician!) …
Or create your own archaeological site: moa and pouakai (giant eagle) bones have been discovered in caves after the unlucky birds fell through holes in the ground (called 'tomo') and couldn't get out. You could use chicken or fish bones and use the photo of your fake fossils for Fake a Giant Moa Discovery!
HOW CAVES ARE MADE
First off, caves aren’t built – they’re dissolved! It all kicks off when rainwater mixes with carbon dioxide in the air as it falls to the ground.
The carbon dioxide makes the rain become slightly acidic.
– Mum when do I get my own room??
THE POINTY BITS
Stalactite ...? Stalagmite ...?
Both are those strange pointy formations found growing from the ground and hanging from the ceiling in limestone caves.
One points up, the other points down... but which is which? Here’s the secret: stalactite has to hang on tight-ly and has a “c” in it (as in “ceiling,”) and stalagmite has a “g” in it, as in “ground.”