Devils Tower National Monument
This view is along Audubon Avenue in Mammoth Cave (part of the Historic Cave Tour route). Note the flat-lying layers of Mississippian limestone in the cavern walls in contrast to the brown cave earth (soil with rubble) on the cavern floor. The limestone formed from lime mud and fossil remains deposited in a shallow interior seaway basin during Mississippian time. This resulted in the formation of the three named limestone rock formations in which the cavern system formed; these include the St. Louis Limestone, Ste. Genevieve Limestone, and Girkin Formation, from oldest to youngest, respectively (Palmer, 1981). The huge passages and lack of speleothems (stalactites stalagmites, flowstone, etc.) are typical of caverns in the Mammoth Cave region. Mammoth Cave was carved by underground flowing streams (at or near the water table) rather that the more irregularly shaped passages of dissolution-style caverns like Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico that probably didn't have abrading streams carving canyon-like passages.
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Last modified: 12/6/2010