Fisher Ridge Cave System

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The Fisher Ridge Cave System is a cave system located in Hart County, Kentucky, United States, near Mammoth Cave National Park. As of January 2018 it had been mapped to a length of 125.25 miles (201.57 km), making it the fifth-longest cave in the United States and the tenth-longest in the world,[1][2] but in May 2018, China's Shuanghedong Cave Network was discovered to be longer than previously thought, thereby displacing Fisher Ridge from the top ten.[3]

Discovery[edit]

The earliest visitors to the Fisher Ridge Cave System were Archaic Native Americans who explored the cave. They scratched a lattice or checkerboard pattern onto a large breakdown boulder.[4] Pieces of charcoal from a cane torch dated to approximately 3000 BCE and footprints were also found in the cave. Prehistoric explorers of the cave likely used a different entrance from the ones that are known now, but it is not clear which entrance may have been used.[5]

The cave system was rediscovered in January 1981 by a group of Michigan cavers associated with the Detroit Urban Grotto of the National Speleological Society.[6][7]

Lack of connection[edit]

The Fisher Ridge Cave System has not yet been found to connect to the nearby Mammoth Cave system, despite a separation of only 300 feet (91 m) between the nearest cave passages.[8] The closest approach between the two caves is located high in the ridges, which is unfavorable for connection efforts. The most likely location of connection, if one exists, is deeper in the active base-level streams of the caves, since erosion of the valleys between ridges tends to separate previously connected cave passages located higher in the caves.[9] Surveyed cave passages run inside the boundary of Mammoth Cave National Park, but the two caves remain apparently unconnected.[6] It is likely that the caves will eventually be connected,[10][11] but cavers in Fisher Ridge have discouraged efforts to identify a connection.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gulden, Bob (January 6, 2018). "USA Longest Caves". Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  2. ^ Gulden, Bob (January 7, 2018). "Worlds Longest Caves". Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  3. ^ "Guizhou's Shuanghe Cave named longest cave in Asia". 
  4. ^ White, William B.; Culver, David C., eds. (2012). Encyclopedia of Caves. Academic Press. pp. 26–28. ISBN 9780123838322. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  5. ^ Anderson, David G..; Mainfort, Robert C., eds. (2002). The Woodland Southeast. University of Alabama Press. pp. 504–509. ISBN 9780817311377. Retrieved 25 July 2018. 
  6. ^ a b Hobbs III, Horton H.; Olson, Rickard A.; Winkler, Elizabeth G.; Culver, David C., eds. (2017). Mammoth Cave: A Human and Natural History. Springer. p. 4. ISBN 9783319537184. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  7. ^ Borden, James D.; Roger W. Brucker (2000). Beyond Mammoth Cave. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. pp. 288–289. ISBN 0-8093-2346-X. 
  8. ^ White, William B.; Culver, David C., eds. (2012). Encyclopedia of Caves. Academic Press. p. 469. ISBN 9780123838322. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  9. ^ Kambesis, Patricia; Despain, Joel; Groves, Chris (Feb 15, 2013). "The Making of a Connection: Exploration/Survey in Whigpistle Cave System". Mammoth Cave Research Symposia. 
  10. ^ White, William B.; Culver, David C., eds. (2012). Encyclopedia of Caves. Academic Press. p. 736. ISBN 9780123838322. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  11. ^ Gunn, John, ed. (2004). Encyclopedia of Caves and Karst Science. Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 1067. ISBN 9781579583996. Retrieved 25 July 2018. 
  12. ^ Borden, James D.; Roger W. Brucker (2000). Beyond Mammoth Cave. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. p. 326. ISBN 0-8093-2346-X.