Location: Kentucky, USA
Creation Date: 1941
Area: 214 sq km
Length of trails: 19 km, total: 320 km
Visitors per year: 1 880 126 (2004)
Headquarters: State of Kentucky
The world’s largest cave system is located within the United States, located in Mammoth Cave National Park in the state of Kentucky, 144 km south of the city Louiville. Europeans came to these caves for the first time in 1799. In 1972 speleologists studying these areas have shown that corridors in three mountain ranges: Flint, Mammoth Cave and Toohey combine to form a system of at least 560 km.
The caves were formed by water that dissolved under a layer of limestone occurring hard rock. Zdumiewajca collection of stalactites and stalagmites and curtains creates a solid limestone waterfalls and delicate flowers look like crystals.
Echo River, flowing 110 m below the surface, provides shelter for fish, lobsters and shrimp. Living organisms adapt to their environment – the animals chewing on the river, into which no sunlight reaches, are devoid of eyes and color.
Mammoth Cave National Park – covers an area of the world’s longest cave. Park (area 214 km ²) located in the central part of the state of Kentucky, about 160 miles south of Louisville. Park visited annually by nearly 2 million tourists. In 1981 he became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mammoth Cave is sometimes referred to as one of the wonders of the Western Hemisphere. Located in the hills band made up mainly of limestone. Over millions of years of local streams acidified water permeated through the porous scale digging himself in her hallway. Tourists can choose from several routes with a total of 19 km of corridors on five levels. The lowest is 110 m below the surface of the ground. In the cave there are several lakes, rivers and waterfalls. The largest river is the Echo River 6-18 mi wide at 1,5-8 m deep, live in the eyeless cave fish. Cave fauna is complemented by several species of bats, crayfish and many insects.
The first white men who discovered the cave, the local settlers were appearing on the site in the late eighteenth century, however, footprints, Muni, simple tools and torches butts prove that they knew and lived in the cave era of pre-Columbian Indians. The first one concerning the great cave, from the year 1798.
During the war with the British in 1812 the cave was mined nitrate required for the manufacture of gunpowder. In the early nineteenth century, Mammoth Cave was the only known North American site of nitrate. Mining ceased shortly after the war, and in 1816 the cave has become a popular place for visitors. Walls and Mammoth Cave formations are very colorful and take on fantastic shapes.
Within the national park there are three cave systems: Mammoth Cave System, Crystal Cave System Flint Ridge system inside and Joppa Ridge System. In 1972 it became clear that there is a connection to Mammoth and Crystal Caves, which creates the world’s longest system of ways: over 587 km.