Mammoth Cave National Park Research Paper

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Geology of Mammoth Cave Kentucky
Mammoth Cave is found in Mammoth Cave National Park that was founded in 1941. Currently, it is the longest cave known in the world with approximately 350 miles of underground interconnected chambers and passages. Mapping and exploration continues and seems like it has no end. Mammoth Cave National Park is situated near Park City in south central Kentucky. It lies in forested and hilly areas of three counties; Hart, Edmonson, and Barren. It occupies about 50,000 acres. A landscape that is mainly covered by the solution features such as sinking streams, large springs, sinking holes, and caves is referred to as karst. For instance, as shown in figure 1. The caves are characterized by several limestone
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Past 360 million years ago, Kentucky was approximately 10 degree to the south of the equator when caves started to form. Kentucky was also occupied with water containing tiny organism having shells of calcium carbonate. When these tiny organisms died, shells accumulation of these creatures together with calcium carbonate emanating from water, built up more than millions of years such that it was hundreds of feet thick. On top of these formations, fifty feet of sandstone were deposited by another river system. Sandstone and limestone were exposed when the sea level started to fall approximately 280 million ago (Thompson & Thompson, 2003). When rivers that we have today started to form, sandstone topped plateau covered the Green River whereas a low limestone plain extended towards southeast direction (Call,…show more content…
The typical paths found above the water level are canyon-like and narrow as shown in figure 5 below. (Figure 5)
These pictures show a canyon found in Mammoth Caves
They have sinuous, curving channels and their heights are higher compared to their widths (Thompson & Thompson, 2003). Irregularities toward the local direction of slant cause paths sinuosity. Canyons located in the Mammoth Cave run up to 80 to 100 feet high and 10-30 feet wide but many of them are not that high and much narrower. Vertical shafts are created where water can run down vertically alongside fractures (Call, 2010) as illustrated in figure 6. (Figure 6)
This picture shows a shaft created by water running down
Shafts are oval or round in parallel cross section. In their walls, many shafts have a series of drains at different elevations (Call, 2010). Currently, water running down a shaft exit through the drain located in the lower part found on the floor of the shaft. In Mammoth Cave, the biggest shaft is about 150 feet deep, and a diameter is some tens of
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