KGS Logo Kentucky Geological Survey Special Publication 7
Geology of the Mammoth Cave National Park Area


The Mammoth Cave area, in east-central Edmonson County, Kentucky, is one of the world's famous cave regions. A hunter named Houchins is rumored to have chased a wounded bear into a previously unknown cave in the late 1700's, thus discovering one of the great natural wonders of the world. This booklet is written to provide answers to questions which might arise in the visitor's mind concerning the location and formation of this and other caves of the area. Geological literature contains much information about various aspects of Mammoth Cave and its special features, but no attempt has been made previously to present this material in a semitechnical fashion. Some of the more important scientific references have been included in a list at the end of this discussion for those who may want to study further the technical details concerning cavern development.

Frontispiece. Outline map of Kentucky showing geologic regions and the location of Mammoth Cave National Park. The oldest (Ordovician) rocks exposed in the State are found in the Bluegrass region and progressively younger rocks outcrop on either side of this area. The coal fields contain rocks of Pennsylvanian age. In the generalized cross section the vertical scale is greatly exaggerated. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 18-Jan-2007