Mammoth cave
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Mammoth Cave. by Martin M. When the park became a national park.

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Mammoth Cave

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Mammoth cave

Mammoth Cave

by Martin M.


When the park became a national park

When the park became a national park.

In 1926, Congress gave an approval to make Mammoth Cave a national park. This was authorized to protect the landscape, such as the caves, hilly country, and scenic river valleys in south central Kentucky. The park became an attraction as early as 1816 but the park was established officially in 1941 by Congress.

Mammoth Cave was an important part of the beginning of our country's tourism because it was one of our first big attractions. As a young country, we couldn't compete with the antiquities of Europe, but we did have the wonders of nature. Mammoth Cave, The Grand Canyon, and Giant Sequoia were big and beautiful!


How the park was formed

How the park was formed?

Since North America was located closer to the equater 350 million years ago,  a shallow warm-watered sea blanketed the southeastern U.S. A build-up of tiny creature's calcium carbonated shells went on for 70 million years. Seven hundred feet of limestone and shale followed, and to top it off, sixty feet of sandstone blanketed the layers under it. The sea level started dropping about 280 million years ago, exposing the limestone and sandstone. Tectonic forces lifting earth's crust caused cracks to form between the limestone and sandstone. Uplifts continued, causing rivers to form which created the sandstone-capped plateau over millions of years above the Green River(pictoral slide will show this) and the almost flat plains of limestone. Rain water, made acified by the carbon dioxide in the soil, seeped downward through the cracks in the limestone and started to dissolve and transform the solid rock into the pathways of Mammoth Cave as they are today. This process continues daily, forming new underground paths.


What types of rocks can be found inside your park

What types of rocks can be found inside your park?

Limestone, dolomite, sandstone, and shale are all found in the park, but common field rocks are a beauty to some people. Selenite, mirabilite, epsomite, and gypsum are also found in the caves.

  • Limestone was formed when shells were compacted together over time.

  • Sandstone was part of the ceiling of Mammoth Cave. It was harder than limestone.

  • Gypsum, a mineral, was first discovered in the dryer parts of Mammoth Cave. You might know Gypsum as a mineral in drywall.


Landforms and features

Landforms and features

Above Ground

  • The park consists of woodlands, hemlocks, wetlands, and open barrens with prarie vegetation.

  • There is a wide variety of rare species of both plants and animals. 872 species have been confirmed so far, with 21 endangered, threatened, or of special concern.

  • The Green River flows through the park area with a wide collection of species, such as 5 species not found anywhere else, 3 types of cavefish, and freshwater mussels found in the sand and gravel.


Landforms and features cont

Landforms and features cont.

Features

Mammoth cave can be quiet as you first walk in, but some 200 species live in the caves. Forty-two species have stumbled into the cave and have adapted to the dark.

  •  There is not a very big bat population in Mammoth cave, but there are 12 different types of bats in the cave. They eat insects and act as a natural pesticides.

  •  There are 30 species of permanent cave dwellers including the eyeless and colorless cavefish that grow to the length of your finger.

  •  Animals like the raccoon and the bullfrog have tumbled into the cave. They have adapted to the caves' dark passageways and live a life of darkness.

    cavefish ----->


How is the land in the park changing

How is the land in the park changing?

The caves are changing all the time! The Green river cuts underground and is eroding away at the passageways, forming new ones every year. This is called Terminal Breakdown. The Historic entrance is an example of valley deepening and widening. The entrance has collapsed due to this deepening and widening.

     Historic entrance


What environmental issues are affecting the park

What environmental issues are affecting the park?

  • Sprawl, air and water contamination are environmental issues affecting Mammoth cave.

  • Water contamination from animal feeding operations (a large amount of animals in a small area) and coal-fired power plants' toxic waste are adding to the issues in and around Mammoth cave.

  • Mammoth cave has endangered species such as the Mammoth Cave Shrimp, the Bald Eagle, and several species of bats that are affected by the above eco-problems.

    cave shrimp           bald eagle                          a bat


How is technology being used to preserve and maintain the park

How is technology being used to preserve and maintain the park?

The technology used in Mammoth Cave is to help eliminate a plant called lampenflora. Lampenflora grows on artifically lit passageways disturbing the cave's eco-system by introducing a new source of energy into the food chain.

Scientists from Mammoth cave and are working with cave scientists from Slovenia to get rid of the lampenflora. Slovenia has a similar problem in their caves.

Elimination methods:

  • Many methods from using water and a brush to physical, chemical, and biological control have not worked and have actually made the problem worse.

  • The simplest way to restrict lampenflora growth is time

  • limited illumination of the caves with an automatic switch whenever a tourist is absent.


How is technology being used to preserve and maintain the park cont

How is technology being used to preserve and maintain the park? cont.

  • Light spectra of lamps must be carefully

  • considered for illuminating places and spots that would be

  • interesting for tourists.

    Light waves


Mammoth cave

Map


Bibliography

Bibliography

"Animal Feeding Operations." National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=7.

"Gypsum." Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsum.

"Mammoth Cave Group." Sierraclub.

http://kentucky.sierraclub.org/mammothcave/.

"Mammoth Cave (Historic Entrance)." Waymarking. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM3DJ_Mammoth_Cave_Historic_Entrance.

"Mammoth Cave National Park - Dwellers in Darkness." National park Information.

http://nationalparkinformation.org/mammoth-cave-national-park-dwellers-in-darkness/.


Bibliography continued

Bibliography (continued)

"Mammoth Cave National Park." HowStuffWorks. http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/mammoth-cave-national-park-ga.htm.

"METHODS OF GROWTH CONTROL." LAMPENFLORA ALGAE. http://www.caves.org/pub/journal/PDF/v71/cave-71-02-109.pdf.

"Rocks in Mammoth Cave." Thinkquest. http://library.thinkquest.org/TQ0311340/Karst%20Enviroment/Another%20sedimentary%20rock2.htm.


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