Endangered Earth
Caves of the Midwest
The Caves of Kentucky
Mammoth Caves
Mammoth Cave National Park, Central Kentucky
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Photo by Dave Bunnell of canyon passage in Mammoth Cave. These flat-ceilinged passages are typical of the cave. This passage is vadose in origin, meaning it has been enlarged and downcut by running water after the initial cave passage formed.

A Grand, Gloomy and Peculiar Place

Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world's longest cave system, with more than 365 miles explored. Early guide Stephen Bishop called the cave a "grand, gloomy and peculiar place," but its vast chambers and complex labyrinths have earned its name: Mammoth.

Mammoth Cave is the world's longest known cave. In fact it is so long that if the second and third longest caves in the world were joined together, Mammoth Cave would still be the planet's longest cave and have nearly 100 miles left over!

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Native Americans of the Early Woodland period gathered minerals from Mammoth Cave between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago ... no one knows why. Objects they left behind slippers, cane torches, gourds, and mussel shells remain perfectly preserved in the cave. Credit: NPS

SOURCE: National Parks Service Mammoth Caves

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Map of Mammoth Cave System Credit: Worthington S.R.H.

Paper: Hydraulic and geological factors influencing conduit flow depth

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