Barium Deep Building / Landmark in Manifold Sky | World Anvil

Barium Deep

For the prompt "Write about a shop, in or tavern that its name is a pun"
A crystal cavern formerly rich in baryite minerals, Barium Deep is both a tourist spelunker's destination and a shop selling geological samples for decorative and scientific purposes.


The Barium Deep campus is composed of four separate sections:
  • The visitor's center: Located at the mouth of the cavern/mine complex, the visitor center serves as the beginning and end points for the Barium Deep public tour. The visitor's center contains a small geology museum, a theatre for showing educational films, and - of course - the Barium Deep shop. The shop not only sells geological samples as souveniers, but it also sells professional spelunking and geology gear for those who can afford them.
  • The student center: The student center is attached to the visitor's center by a covered bridge and lies opposite the cavern enterance from the visitor's center entrance. The student center is actually a remote branch of the UTM campus serving the geology department with 'hands-on' educational experiences.
  • The crystal cavern: The crystal cavern is the portion of the Barium Deep cavern/mine complex which has been explicitly preserved by UTM geology department personnel. Catwalks and hand rails have been permitted to allow easy visitor access, while numerous lights have been strung through the cavern to put the beautiful crystal formations on display.
  • The closed mine: The closed mine is the portion of the Barium Deep cavern/mine complex where mining activities have made civilian spelunking too dangerous. This remains closed to visitors at all times with the exception of graduate program students and administrative personnel. The name of Barium Deep is a bit of a double-entendre; at least one miner is known to have disappeared into the deepest depths of this closed region of the cave complex, never to be seen again.


Located near the edge of Triple Mesa, Barium Deep was originally named as such for the high number of large baryite crystals found there. Many of the largest baryite crystals were hauled out for industrial purposes, but by 9868 AR the University of Triple Mesa geology program had pooled enough money to buy the site in an effort to conserve its natural aesthetic splendor. The University later installed a gift shop and trailheads for subterranean tours, reopening the mine for public visits in 9880 AR. This ultimately turned out to be a shrewd business decision, as the revenue generated by tourist admission fees and the sale of mineral samples (whether at the gift shop or to private researchers) remains an important source of financial support for the University's geology program as of the year 10,000 AR.


Because mining is an important industry in the Free Faces League many young people in that nation plan to become geologists, mining engineers, or heavy equipment operators when they come of age. Because of this, Barium Deep is a common location for League school field trips, especially in the summer months where the cavern's shade is most appreciated. The natural beauty of the Barium Deep caverns - at least the unplunderd parts open to the public - helps to make these somewhat unglamourous jobs more appealing to these young people, as no one really knows when the next lode of big, beautiful crystals is going to be found in Coalition territory.
Shop, Generic
Parent Location
Owning Organization

Cover image: by Rostyslav Savchyn


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