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Ekstrom Library

Government Resources: Environment, Climate, Geology, Energy, Animals and Natural Disasters: Caves

Caves Key Web Links

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Mammoth Cave National Park encompasses 52,830 acres in south central Kentucky and protects the  diverse geological, biological and historical features associated with the longest known cave in the world. Above the cave, the surface landscape highlights rare plants and dense forest, a diverse aquatic ecosystem in the Green and Nolin Rivers, and hallmark geologic features of a classic karst terrain.

Native Americans discovered Mammoth Cave about 4,000 years ago and continued to use  it for 2,000 years. In the late 1790s settlers  “rediscovered” the cave, and during the War of 1812 slaves mined saltpetre from the cave sediments to be used in the manufacture of gunpowder. Tours began in 1816, increasing the cave’s notoriety, and drawing visitors in ever greater numbers. Over a century of private ownership and exploration of the cave followed. Source: Mammoth
Cave National Park, Kentucky (National Park Service)

Why Do Bats Live in Caves?

Most bats are nocturnal. They fly and forage for their food (bugs) at night. This means that they need safe places to sleep during the day. Caves provide the kind of protected shelter in which bats can thrive. Hanging from the ceiling of a cave, bats are out of reach of most of their enemies. Some of the most successful species of bats live in large cave colonies. Some of these colonies have millions of members, even up to 20 million! Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico once had 7-8 million, but now has about 1 million. Source: Everyday  Mysteries, Science Reference Services,  The Library of Congress. 

Discover. Create. Succeed.