Mammoth Caves

Mammoth Cave National Park I just got back from a trip with Hemanshu to visit the Mammoth Caves National Park in Kentucky. In addition to being a U.S. National Park it is also a World Heritage Site. There are three main cave systems in this area, the Fisher Ridge Cave System, the Martin Ridge Cave System and the Mammoth Cave System. In 1972 a research team managed to find a passage linking two of them, the Fisher Ridge Cave System with the Mammoth Cave System and this made it the longest cave system in the world. As of now more than 360 miles (580 km) of caves have been mapped and explored. The next longest cave system in the world is in the Ukraine and it is only about a third the length.

Green River Mammoth Caves The national park is more than 50,000 acres of lush green scenic river valleys perfect for camping, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing and caving. It is estimated that 2 million people visit the park every year and 75 percent of them never go underground to visit the caves. We took a boat tour on the Green river, hiked on a few trails, got lost, rescued a turtle and went on some very beautiful drives.

Features in Mammoth Caves Due to incredible foresight and planning on our part we bought tour tickets in advance and got to visit two very different parts of the cave system. We took the Frozen Niagra Tour and the Making of Mammoth Tour. The Niagra Tour has some nice features of Stalactites and Stalagmites. However I realized that big caves do not necessarily give you beautiful features. Water flows quickly through the cave system and it does not have enough time to disolve the limestone and then redeposit it somewhere else. It takes 300 years of slow running water to create an inch of these features. There are many more stunning features in other caves around the world where water drips slowly for thousands of years. The Making of Mammoth tour was impressive due to the sheer size of the caverns. We went quite deep into the cave, very close to the Echo river, 300 feet underground, home of the endangered, transparent Kentucky Cave Shrimp.

If you want to see more pictures you can take a look at my Flickr photo set at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sameerdcosta/sets/620039/

6 Responses to “Mammoth Caves”

  1. hkaul Says:

    Thanks Sameer for putting up the photos ;-)

    You didn’t mention the sinkholes and the Sinkhole Plain :-)
    also the beautiful Green river … and the smooth roads through beautiful forests …

    I had a lot of fun …. should visit another National Park next time :-)

  2. Test Blog » Blog Archive » World Heritage Sites Says:

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  3. haris Says:

    Nice article Sameer.
    You probably wanted to link to the Kentucky shrimp entry, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_cave_shrimp
    not the Alabama one.

  4. Sameer Says:

    Thanks, I fixed the link.

  5. deepa Says:

    hi sameer,

    i am himanshu’s friend so got the links..

    The pics are great, the place looks beautiful! must have been a wonderful experience for u two.

    cheers

  6. ROBERT who (FERNANDES ) Says:

    LIKED THE MAMOTH CAVES ……… YOUR PARENTS WONT STOP TAKLING ABOUT IT .COULD i HAVE SOME SOME INFO ON WHAT THEY SAW DIFFERENTLY
    ANY OTHER HIGHLIGHTS ON MAMOTHS CAVES
    ARE THEY ANY MAMOTH TUSKS THERE……..?

    ROBERT

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