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CAVE - Hidden River EarthCache

Hidden : 09/22/2015
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   other (other)

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Geocache Description:

Reservations are not required for the public guided tours ($15). Tours are scheduled beginning at 9:30 AM every morning, with the last tour scheduled for 6:00PM Memorial Day through Labor Day. During the rest of the year, the last tour is scheduled for 4:00PM. CLOSED HOLIDAYS.

Each cacher must send his/her own answers BEFORE logging a find. Enjoy the journey (learning adventure) as well as the destination (smiley earned). Remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints. To get credit for this Earthcache, complete the following tasks:

1. MESSAGE …. Name three different speleothems shown in the display. You will be visiting the display (with your guide) at the museum before going into the cave. You can also answer this question by using the picture and the resource.

2. MESSAGE …. Why are there so few speleothems within this cave?

3. MESSAGE …. You will encounter a special speleothem on your tour of the cave. It is an indicator of how long you can safely remain in the cave. ... a. Name the speleothem. ... b. Describe what it indicates.

4. LOG …. Post a picture anywhere along the tour. This picture is your log signature.

OPTIONAL - Please respect the time and effort involved in creating this earthcache by adding A and B to your log.

A. JOURNEY OF THE MIND ... Science explains what we observe. Relate (in your own words) something you found interesting in the reading. This adds to your learning adventure and your log.

B. JOURNEY OF THE HEART ... Art shares our personal experience of what we see. Share something special you found on site, and why it is special to you. This is a memorable addition to your log and will make other hearts smile.

Journeys of Heart and Mind ... 
Stories to Touch the Heart and Puzzles to Challenge the Mind / Rainbow Tree Story

THANK YOU Maria and Clay Lancaster for all your help and permission to place this earthcache.


"On September 7,1867, while en route to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, naturalist John Muir stopped at lesser-known Horse Cave. In his book, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, Muir wrote of the place: It seems a noble gateway to ... the birthplace of springs and fountains and the dark treasuries of the mineral kingdom. This cave lies in a village of the same name which it supplies with an abundance of cold water: Cold air issues from its fern-clad lips. In hot weather crowds of people sit about in the shade of the trees that guard it. This magnificent fan is capable of cooling everybody in town at once.

"Within 50 years of Muir's visit, Horse Cave had become one of America's most notorious examples of groundwater pollution. In the 1920s and 30s, raw sewage thick with spoiled whey from a local creamery, was piped directly into the underground stream. The "magnificent fan" spread the stench for miles, making the town virtually uninhabitable every summer for 6 decades. Chromium and other chemicals from a metal-plating factory further polluted the abundance of cold water.

"In 1987, after nearly 50 years of closure, the American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA) located its national headquarters on the Hidden River Cave grounds and began efforts to restore and reopen the cave. As the cave began to recover, opportunities for exploration opened up.

"The American Cave and Karst Center opened in July 1992, and has since been visited by nearly 100,000 people. The Center uses Hidden River's unique history as an educational tool for teaching about the problems of living on karst terrains."


A speleothem is a cave formation formed when calcium carbonate is dissolved by water. The speleothem display pictured below is found within the museum.



The Upper Green River Watershed contains Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky’s largest spring, Lost River Cave, Hidden River Cave, Cub Run Cave, and the only segments of the Green River deemed Wild River (26 miles) and Exceptional Waters (66 miles).

Hidden River Cave is located in Horse Cave, KY on the southern edge of Hart County. Flowing through the cave are two rivers ... The East Branch, origin unknown -and- The South Branch, origin Cave City springs.


This is considered a river cave. The water levels vary from a small stream to flooding which obscures the cave entrance and coats the walls with mud. You will encounter three types of mud based on their water content - peanut butter mud / butterscotch mud / motor oil mud. Because of this periodic rise and fall of water levels, there are very few speleothems within this cave.

You will also encounter mounds of sandstone. Although this is considered a limestone cave, it is capped by sandstone. It is this sandstone that is eroded from the flow of water through the cave.

There are a variety of cave organisms that now live in the cave. They include bats, salamanders, cave fish, crickets, cave spiders. The wildlife returned within three years of the cave clean-up. This cave is considered one of the most biologically diverse caves on the planet.


Water is necessary for speleothems to form. The nature of the cave formation depends on whether the water drips, seeps, condenses, flows, or ponds. 

BELOW GROUND TOUR - 270-854-3054

Speleothems ... for help.
Encyclopedia of Caves .... Edited by William B. White and David C. Culver


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