Inner Space..a cavern : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

The family unit went to a local cavern in Goergetown Tx today.Was most pleasureable to descend 70'+/- into the earth on a warm Tx day..and discover all the cave formations one can see but can't remember: stalactites/mites and straws and others..was cool with confortable moisture..was considerably larger(1000+) than the cave we found a couple of years ago while sawing for a water line in a subdivision in Austin..that cave is now covered by a driveway and house..

Reason for post is to find out about caverns/caves in other parts of country..will anticipate and welcome any responses...

-- george (, July 06, 2000



If you're talking about "show" caves and not about exploring wild caves, then Missouri and Arkansas may be your best bet - they have tons of caves, if you're willing to make the drive. Meramac Caverns in Missouri is one of the nation's best show caves, IMO. Fantastic Caverns, near Springfield, MO wasn't too bad. They use all electric- powered jeeps to conduct the tour, so we could concentrate on looking at the formations, not where we were putting our feet.

If you're ever in Ohio, stop by Ohio Caverns (near Bellefountain, Ohio). Their formations are small, but they're pure white calcite, which I've seen nowhere else. You could also see "Crystal Cave" underneath one of the Wineries on Kelley's Island (on Lake Erie). It used to be the world's largest geode (Spain just took that honor away back in June). I've never been to Crystal Cave, but have heard that it was an interesting tour (not to mention the wine-sampling).

-- Deb M. (, July 07, 2000.


The Balcones Escarpment, which makes a wide semi-circle around Austin, and passes north of San Antonio is loaded with caves, as is the Edwards Plateau, which is above the escarpment. Closest to you are Longhorn Caverns, just north of Marble Falls, on the Inks Lake road, and Natural Bridge Caverns, just west of New Braunfels. These are older commercialized caves, but well worth the short drive.

A little farther west, about 200 miles, at Sonora on Interstate 10 are the Caverns of Sonora. This cave system is special. Incredibly beautiful, with lots of rare formations like soda straws and gypsum needles, if I remember correctly.

Of course, if you really want to go spelunking, contact the U of T chapter of the Speleolgical Society of America. I belonged to it over 30 years ago, and was asked to map a then-newly discovered cave found by a boring crew for the Interstate north of Austin - Outer Space Caverns!

Good luck, (and take your kids!)



-- Lon Frank (, July 07, 2000.


When it comes to caves, as I recall, Tennessee is #1 and Missouri is #2. Most aren't open to the public but many are. Some are huge. You can probably find more information on the web.


-- DB (, July 07, 2000.

Try this link: National Speleological Society

A question though, Lon. Are many Texas caves formed by acid (from the sulpher which is associated with petroleum), like Carlsbad and Lechuguilla Caves are? I read "Deep Secrets" (the discovery and exploration of Lechuguilla) and saw that sulphuric(?) acid fumes were a concern further into the caves...

-- Deb M. (, July 08, 2000.


thanks for info..have been to Longhorn and Carlsbad as a kid and more recently to Nat'l Bridge and previously mentioned Inner Space with the kids..the 'Outer Space' you referred to must have been re-named 'Inner'because the tour guide stated it was discovered by Highway(I-35)boring crew for the new highway extention north of fact the original bore holes were pointed out during tour..the crew enlarged original pilot hole to 24" and lowered a man into one of largest rooms..that man earned his wage that day..thanks to all for your responses..

-- george (, July 08, 2000.

Deb, thanks for the correction and for the link. And of course, it was INNER Space, not Outer Space. It was along time ago, and nowadays when my mind wanders, it doesn't always wander back!

As far as sulphur fumes and acidic action in caves; it's news to me. I always understood that caverns in limestone areas such as the Devil's Sinkhole in west Texas, or even Carlsbad, in the great ancient Capital reef which is now the Guadelupe mountains, were formed solely by the action of water, which may then, of course, been more acidic than today. (Or perhaps reacted with the very elements it was eroding to become more acidic) BTW, the NSS controls, or did then, the gates to several wild caves in the Lincoln mountains, north-west of Carlsbad, one of which is magnificient - Cottonwood cave.

Of course, water later continued to disolve the stone and rearrange it as the flowstone formations we all love. But other things such as gypsom needles formed in "dry" caves. Perhaps the sulphuric acid you mentioned is, or was, more prevalent in this type?

I've never been to Lechuguilla, though, and I kinda lost contact with the whole spelunking community after I graduated and had to get serious about making money. This thread has brought back some fun memories, and I think I will try to find the book you mentioned. Thanks.


-- Lon Frank (, July 08, 2000.

George, you're right of course, and that what made Inner Space such a neat occurance. It had been totally sealed off from the aboveground environment, and found totally by accident.

But do spend a day, and go over to the Caverns of Sonora. You'll be glad you did. And as others pointed out, Tenn., Arkansas, and Kentucky are "cave central".

I took a trip with just my youngest son several years ago, and we came back from the Great Smokies and wandered around a bit. We went to a different cave everyday, and it is still one of my best travel memories.


-- Lon Frank (, July 08, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ