• 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?

Grease-oil lamp

The grease-oil lamp was used to illuminate Mammoth Cave for more than a century. Designed after New England whale-oil lanterns, these lamps used cooking grease to light the way.