• The Historic Entrance of Mammoth Cave

    Mammoth Cave

    National Park Kentucky

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Nature and Science

The interface between the sunlit and nether worlds

Mammoth Cave, by far the world's longest known cave system, is the heart of the South-Central Kentucky karst, an integrated set of subterranean drainage basins covering more than 1,050 square kilometers – 400 square miles. Atop this labyrinth is a biologically diverse set of ecosystems inextricably interlinked with the ecosystems underground. This physiographic province, with Mammoth Cave National Park at its core, was declared an International Biosphere Reserve in 1990.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? Native Americans mined minerals in Mammoth Cave for 2,000 years.

Native Americans of the Early Woodland period gathered minerals from Mammoth Cave between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago ... no one knows why. Objects they left behind – slippers, cane torches, gourds, and mussel shells – remain perfectly preserved in the cave.