Earth Sciences

Which are the most famous caves in North America?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. It took millions of years for natural processes to create the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The caves are so big that they are still being explored. Three separate levels of caverns (at different depths underground) offer beautiful natural art and are open to the public. Among the cave's spectacles is the huge Big Room cavern, well named at 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) long , 625 feet (190 meters) wide and 350 feet (107 meters) tall [source: NPS]. Stalactites, stalagmites and crystal basins decorate the caverns. You can even find a natural structure of stone that resembles a waterfall.

    The Cave of Crystals (Cueva de los Cristales) in Naica, Mexico, was created under Naica Mountain by a volcanic eruption. Mineral deposits from the eruption seeped underground in the water, where the unique combination of water flow and the temperature beneath the mountain made them crystallize into enormous gypsum crystals of up to 36 feet (11 meters), which stick out all over the cave [source: Lovgren]. No bigger crystals can be found anywhere in the world. However, it's part of an active mine, so the few people who are allowed to see it need to wear special gear to protect themselves from the intense heat.

    Mammoth Cave, which rests under the state of Kentucky in the eastern United States, is an astounding natural creation. The parts that have been explored are approximately 360 miles (580 kilometers) in length - - and if that's all there is, Mammoth Cave is four times as long as the second longest cave on the planet. However, many believe the cave extends much farther than our current measurements indicate. The Mammoth Cave was sculpted by Kentucky's Green River over the course of some 10 million years of history. Rivers that run underground through the cave are home to several varieties of eyeless fish, shrimp, beetles and even pale-white cave spiders.

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