On Friday 24th February, Class 2 went to Carnglaze Caverns to learn about rocks as a result of their topic being ‘Shake, Rock and Roll.’ The children, who were in sensible clothing, went inside the cold, wet mine. The atmosphere is a lot different than above ground.
As we turned the corner from the owner’s house, the entrance to the mine looked like a monster’s mouth which was wide open – ready to eat you up. Even so, we stepped in with excitement.
As we walked into the mine, we saw a gallery of colours on the walls. The first cavern was called ‘The Rum Store.’
In the past, horses would take slate down to the docks at Looe, to be placed on ships to be used elsewhere. When they returned, the horses would have lime in their saddle bags to use as fertilizer for farmers. Lime is very bad for skin – it can burn. Therefore, smugglers hid rum in the lime, so that the authorities didn’t find it.
Back at Carnglaze, the rum was then hidden in the mine, away from prying eyes, hence the name ‘The Rum Store.’
Caroline, our guide for the day, showed us a manikin (named Billy) who was a splitter in the mine. He was one of five team members to create roofing slates. She explained the whole process to us. It sounded like a dangerous job.
Following health and safety guidelines, we had to wear helmets before descending the 60 steps deep into the mine. Helmets were worn because they couldn’t tell if the roof was safe or not as it was too high to reach – making checking the rocks impossible.
Whilst we were walking down the 60 steps, we gazed in amazement at two hibernating horseshoe bats. They looked like dead, brown, dry leaves. Caroline explained that mummies and baby bats live in her roof, whereas the males hibernate separately in the mine.
A few minutes later we saw a smaller pool, which was made by water coming through the cracks in the rocks above. This was Caroline’s drinking water. She followed the course of an underground stream which lead us to a larger pool of water. It was 10m deep, but because of refraction it looked shallower. The water looked quite blue, even though there was no sunlight or sky. Caroline explained that it was blue because of the minerals in the slate. It was really pretty.
Next we came back to the surface and into the conservatory to complete some rock experiments, with the guidance of Caroline. We tested which rocks were waterproof and which weren’t. We put drops of water on each of the sample rocks. We discovered that, slate and granite kept the drops intact, therefore they are waterproof. Chalk isn’t waterproof because the water soaked through – this is known as an aquifer.
After lunch, we went for a walk in the woods surrounding the caverns to look at the different types of soil and erosion which takes place naturally.
We all thought that the day had been very successful because Caroline was a great guide who explained a lot to us. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and learnt a lot.
By everyone in Class 2