Thursday, January 15, 2015

Photosynth of Round Spring Cave

Round Spring -
Melvin Johnson sent out a video of Round Springs Cave which is spectacular. It is a "photosynth" video which takes you step by step through a 17 minute virtual cave tour from the outside in. The spring flows under a natural bridge to join the Current River.  This National Park Service site provides information on visiting the site.  Below is the description from
"The spring rises in a circular, collapsed cavern, then flows through a natural tunnel before forming the spring branch. Round has the largest variance in measured flow from a minimum of 6.5 million gallons of water a day (mgd) to a record 239 mgd, or a maximum 37 times larger than the minimum. Nearby Round Spring Caverns, has an interesting geographical relationship with the spring, since one arm of the cave points almost directly to the spring.

Round Spring was extensively used by native peoples in prehistory, and was the site of an early 1800's gristmill. About a mile downstream was the original location of Eminence, Missouri, which was destroyed during the Civil War. The spring was located on the Eminence to Salem wagon road. Round Spring was the first site purchased for the state park system in 1924; nearby Round Spring Caverns was opened privately to tourists in 1932. Both the park and the caverns were incorporated into the Ozark National Scenic Riverways by 1972."
Round Springs Cave from the photosynth
Melvin invited us to "Take a 17-minute educational photosynth tour of Missouri's Round Springs Cave via the link below, especially if you've never been there or don't know about photosynths. Matt Bumgardner is with the Springfield Plateau Grotto and does an excellent job with photosynths. He has numerous photosynths of caves in southwest Missouri. Unlike other area caves, Round Springs Cave is still open in-season (summer) for public tours as DNR continues to feel the educational value is greater in-spite of "white nose syndrome."

So what is a photosynth and how does it work? Just like television and CERN's Large Hadron Collider - I don't know. Here is a description from the photosynth Wikipedia entry. In essence, it uses multiple still photographs from any digital camera and stitches them together into a moving image like a movie using a process developed by Microsoft with technology possibly pilfered from Harry Potter's alma mater, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Here is the photosynth of Round Springs Cave tour. It is pretty realistic so a word of warning, be careful you don't bump your head on the stalactites.

* Matt Bumgardner is president of the Springfield Plateau Grotto which meets at the MDC Springfield Nature Center the 2nd Thursday of every month at 7 PM.

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