New entrance discovered to world's longest cave
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
Explorers have just released information on the discovery and exploration of a new entrance to Kentucky's Mammoth Cave. Located in the east central United States, the 579-kilometer-long (360 mile) cave is the longest known in the world. Despite its length and a 200 year exploration effort, only eight natural entrances have been located into the vast underground system.
The entrance was discovered in September 2003, and a route to known sections of Mammoth Cave was first discovered in March. The actual connection was made at 11:55 p.m. Central Standard Time, March 18, 2005 (4:55 UTC, March 19, 2005) by veteran cavers Alan Canon, John Feil, Dick Market, and James Wells. The latest mapping adds four kilometers (2.5 miles) to Mammoth Cave's total length.
Alan Glennon, a cave scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, describes the find as "exciting". "Such significant discoveries show that we've still got a lot to learn about places right under our feet", he said.
Exploration of Mammoth Cave is conducted by the Cave Research Foundation and Central Kentucky Karst Coalition. Both groups' membership is open to experienced cave surveyors. The explorers note that the new entrance is located far from the developed, tourist trails within Mammoth Cave National Park.
Mammoth Cave is located at 37.186° N 86.100° W.
- Cave Research Foundation Newsletter, Vol. 33, No. 3, August 2005.
- DUG Scoops, Vol. 23, No. 1, April 2005.
- Alan Glennon, Department of Geography, University of California-Santa Barbara.
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