Here Is A List Of Top 30 Interesting Facts About Carlsbad Caverns:

#1 The Carlsbad Caverns, with a total length of over 30 miles, are considered among the oldest cave systems in the world. They feature a variety of cave formations or speleothems.

Location

#2 They are located in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park (in the Guadalupe Mountains), a US National Park that is found in the southeastern corner of New Mexico, approximately 145 miles northeast of El Paso and 18 miles (29 km) from the city of Carlsbad.

#3 Visitors can enter through the natural entrance and hike by themselves to explore this amazing cave formation. Also, tourists can go through one of the other 2 entries.

#4 Carlsbad Caverns National Park covers a total area of 46,766 acres. It contains over 117 known caves.

#5 Lechuguilla Cave, found in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, has been mapped to a depth of 489 meters (1,604 feet), making it the deepest limestone cave in the United States.

#6 Lechuguilla Cave is the focus of much current cave exploration at the park and, currently, cannot be accessed by the public. Interestingly, a recent study which was issued in the journal PLoS ONE established that ancient bacteria in the cave has a surprising degree of bacterial resistance.

#7 Moreover, the park includes Rattlesnake Springs, a small enclave approximately 8 km (5 miles) to the southeast. It is built on top of an unstable mine.

History

#8 Carlsbad Cavern formed between 4 and 6 million years ago when water began to seep through cracks in the limestone which was formed 250 million years earlier by an inland sea.

#9 In 1903, mining began in these cavers for guano (the accumulated excrement of seabirds and bats). At that time, the cave was known as ”Big Cave” or ”Bat Cave.”

#10 On May 14, 1930, the Carlsbad Caverns was made a national park.

#11 In 1932, the national park opened up a large visitor center building which contained 2 elevators which would take tourists in and out of the caverns below.

#12 In the late 1940s, the United States military undertook several tests at Green Lake to evaluate its feasibility for use as an emergency fallout shelter. Green Lake is one of the first features you see when going down into the caverns. The water is amazingly clear and all of the details of the cave floor underneath can be seen clearly.

#13 In 1995, UNESCO designated this national park as a World Heritage Site.

Bats

Image credit – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tadarida_brasiliensis_2.jpg

#14 About 16 species of bats live in the park, but the most commons are Mexican free-tail bats (scientifical name – Tadarida brasiliensis). There are over 400,000 bats that billow out of the caverns every night.

#15 The Mexican free-tailed bat is regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America. It is a medium-sized bat which is native to the Americas.

#16 Their weight is between 11 to 14 g and their wingspan is between 30 to 35 cm. Also, these bats may have a lifespan of up to 18 years.

The Big Room

#17 This chamber can be accessed via an elevator into the cave or tourists can descend 79 stairs from the mouth of the cave on the intense Natural Entrance Trail.

#18 The Big Room measures approximately 335 meters (1,100 feet) wide and 610 meters (2,000 feet) long. Also, it has a ceiling which arches 78 meters (255 feet) above the floor.

Underground Lunchroom

#19 It is located in the Big Room at the head of the Left-Hand Tunnel. It came into existence in 1928, 2 years before the cave became a US national park. Underground Lunchroom contains a cafeteria which was built in the 1950s, plus, there are elevators from the visitor center exit into the cave.

#20 Tourists can also see:

  • the Giant Dome (stands 62 feet high, 16 feet in diameter, and has a resemblance to the Leaning Tower of Pisa);
  • Bottomless Pit (the first explorers called it bottomless due to the fact that one couldn’t see the bottom at the time, but it is actually 140-feet deep);
  • Painted Grotto;
  • Rock of Ages.

#21 The temperature in the caverns is at 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

#22 There is a project to upgrade the electrical components of the two 16-person cars which transport visitors 750 feet underground.

#23 Bones from ice age animals, such as – camels, jaguars, giant sloths, and lions have been found in the entrance areas of some caves in this national park.

#24 The town of Carlsbad is named after the Czech town known by the Czech name Karlovy Vary (formerly known by the German name Karlsbad), both of which translate as “Charles’ Bath.”

#25 The use of tripods is allowed by the park authorities on the self-guided trails. This allows professional and amateur photographers to capture longer exposures in the dark underground setting.

Opening & Closing Dates

#26 This national park is open every day of the year except Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day.

#27 The visitor center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hiking in the natural entrance starts at 8:30 a.m. with the last hike at 3:30 p.m. Elevators into the cave are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day during the summer and fall.

#28 Bat pups are born during the early summer and will fly along with the adults. Therefore, the National Park Service recommends tourists to attend the program between August and September.

#29 Peak visitation occurs on the weekends following the Fourth of July and Memorial Day.

#30 This park has an average annual visitation rate of over 430,000 people per year. The caverns contribute an estimated $34 millions to the local economy. Entrance fees for children 15 and under are free. The entrance fee for an adult is $6 for three days. Also, entrance to some caves may need additional fees.

References

https://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm
https://www.nps.gov/cave/planyourvisit/index.htm

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