The Chromosome Tunnel, part 2

Continuing where we left off...

At this point we ended up at in a large room... with this freaking huge cap!

Apparently this sealed the tunnel we entered the room through (i.e., the one on the left).  It had to have been built down there or been part of the original design (maybe to channel the water into the tunnel on the right?).

Regardless, we saved the smaller tunnel for later...

...since these tunnels were in the other direction.

As usual, we went with the biggest one first.

Note that this room is the centromere of this giant "X" chromosome.  The two tunnels started separately, the converged here, then diverged again.

These things never look as good on film (er, flash media) as they do in person.

This was another giant mineral deposition left from the flow out of this side tunnel.

This guy always feels like someone's watching him.

A little further upstream I found a side tunnel that led up to a curbside drain.

I wanted to get a GPS reading to see how far we had traveled, but this guy was out watering his lawn. 

It probably took about ten minutes to wait until he wasn't looking in my direction before I could stay up here long enough to get a reading and to take this pic without being spotted.

Here's the return from that side tunnel.

Note the other tunnel opposite the main one where Rick is standing...

...we went down that one next and found these seeds sprouting in the soil runoff that had collected here.

The one by my hand was obviously pretty determined to have grown that tall in the absence of sunlight.  Or maybe we just discovered a new ecosystem like those bacteria around deep-sea geothermal vents!

Finally we reached the end of the line (or telomere, for those really excited about that whole chromosome analogy).

I kind of suspected that this would be a dead end from the paucity of water the further we traveled.  The only moisture at this end was a little leakage.

What's on the other side?  Sorry, I forgot to bring my x-ray glasses this trip.

We tried out a few other tunnels upstream of the "room" with the cap shown earlier.

This shot was taken downstream of the room when we headed into the last stretch.  Note that it switched from circular (visible just behind Rick) to this "hallway" appearance...

...which culminated in this low ceiling. 

And remember, this is heading downstream.  Why would it get smaller?  Who knows!

This archway ought to look familiar as well.  As we headed down it, we found ourselves in the part where we left off in the very first tunnel we explored in this system!

At least on the way back we managed to avoid passing the sewerage emptying into the other tunnel.

Alexplored 3/16/05. 
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