The Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico host some of finest caves in the world, including Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave. These caves formed differently than most caves. Rather than being dissolved by carbonic acid, they were dissolved by sulfuric acid, derived from the oil and gas fields of the nearby Delaware Basin. We'll first examine the Capitan Reef in the Guadalupe Mountains so as to give you the geologic background to understand why Carlsbad Cavern is so deep and why the Big Room is one of the largest cave rooms in the world. We'll also cover the spectacular mineralogy of the caverns and tell you how its cave minerals and formations (“speleothems”) were deposited.This class is intended to greatly enhance your next visit to Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks.