Mammoth Cave Adventure

If you have ever wanted to explore the world’s longest known cave, then Mammoth Cave located near Bowling Green, KY is the cave for you. There are more than 392 miles of passages interconnected with one another and a variety of tours you can take. Being a moderate adventurer and amateur spelunker, I opted for the 2 hour tour. We started off by entering a sink hole and descending 280 steps with an elevation change of 250 feet. Once we arrived at the ridge portion of the cave, I was curious why the ceilings were so smooth and there were no stalactites or stalagmites in this portion of the cave. Our guide explained that the cave is protected by the ridge and water does not drip into this section of the cave. If water is entering a cave, it is considered a dying cave as the features are changing with the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. They turned off the lights so we could experience total darkness. The guide instructed us to put our hands in front of our face almost touching our nose and even though you knew your hand was there, you couldn’t see a thing! As we continued on our tour, we reached the slope portion of the cave. This portion was no longer protected by the ridge and was full of stalactites and stalagmites! They have a section called the Frozen Niagara which was a very impressive section that looked just like a frozen waterfall. The tour went by really quick and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about caves. If you are looking for caves with many interesting formations, make sure the cave is not protected by a ridge. Remember, leaky roofs = stalactites and stalagmites!  Check out the website http://www.nps.gov/maca/index.htm and explore the teacher section to learn how you can use this information in your classrooms.

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