1930s-Era Explosives Safely Removed from Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave

Explosives experts have safely removed the remnants of 1930s-era explosives that were found late last week in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave.

Park staff found wires protruding from three holes drilled into the cave walls immediately adjacent to the trail through the cave. One was found between the Junction and Curtain rooms, another in the Organ Room and the third near Marble Hall. Of the three sites, only one was estimated to have a high likelihood of containing live explosives. This hole was above the tour trail in an unlit area and on the other side of protruding rock.

During an operation that last until 9 p.m. Tuesday, the National Park Service's regional chief blaster, Dave Karplus, first removed the wires from the three holes and then set off a total of seven small charges in an effort to cause the historic explosives to ignite. After none of the explosives ignited, the material was determined inert and removed manually from the holes.

Crystal Cave reopened to the public at noon today.