The Naracoorte Caves, South Australia.

Stalactites in Alexandra Cave

The World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves in South Australia are one of the world’s most important fossil sites. For 500,000 years the caves acted as pitfall traps – animals would fall in through a hole in the ground and not be able to escape thus creating a rich fossil record of now extinct animals over a time period of several ice ages and the arrival of humans in the area.

 

I had hoped to record some quiet sounds echoing within their chambers but it wasn’t to be as all but one of the caves must be accessed with tour groups. I left the microphone in the car and joined the groups. It was one of the most stunning places I have ever visited so I didn’t feel any regret about not being able record the gentle drops of water I could hear falling around me.

A mirror pool reflecting stalactites 

After the rest of the groups left in the late afternoon I returned to the single cave you could access without a guide. Right at the very end water dripped quickly and loudly, not as subtle as I’d hoped to record yet it was the best I could get. While recording I thought about the fact that this sound had echoed in the cave without interruption for half a million years. One of the world’s oldest surviving sounds, water falling onto rock.

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