Geology of Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the biggest, the longest, the greatest cave system which has been recorded throughout the world, there are more than 360 miles of cave mapped in these great underground halls and passageways. The park has everything, sink holes, windows, vertical shafts and springs, as well as a whole lot more.

Mammoth Cave National Park is in Kentucky, South Central Kentucky to be precise, on an intersection of carbonated bedrock which stretches as far north as Indiana, as far east as the Cumberland Plateau, all the way south to Georgia and west as far as the Ozarks. The Green River bisects the park from east to west, creating two very different regions and physiographic areas. North of the Green River there’s exposed limestone and some insoluble rocks, the majority of which is only evident close to the river itself and in the base of some of the deepest valleys. This is responsible for the rugged lands, water flowing alternately across insoluble tocks over the amazing waterfalls, flowing into the caves through the limestone before resurfacing as small springs on the next layer of insoluble rocks. Towards the south of the river large portions of the caves have been preserved by the shale caprock and insoluble sandstones.

Many of the astonishing features of the Mammoth Caves have been created over many years, the stalactites, stalagmites, travertine dams, helictites plus many of the beautiful gypsum formations like the amazing gypsum flowers.