Last year, a super impressive underground cave and national park grew from the discovery of eight additional miles of cave. Now, researchers have done it again. Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, the longest cave in the world and an overall kick-butt national park with next-rate stargazing, just got even larger. Here’s what you need to know.
The National Park Service published a press release touting the new discovery of the cave and the impressive explorers who found it in September 2022. According to the release, the explorers of the mammoth-sized Mammoth Cave mapped out an additional six miles of cave through the network of passageways underground. The explored size of the cave is now an impressive 426 miles.
“The additional 6 miles of cave is spread out in various sections throughout the cave system and were mapped and documented through hours of survey work completed by our partner, the Cave Research Foundation (CRF),” said Barclay Trimble, superintendent of the national park.
“Our teams have come together to mark this important milestone and we hope the community will take advantage of some special opportunities to learn more about the CRF and even be able to speak directly to the history makers themselves.”
How important is this milestone? To put it in perspective, when the park was opened in 1941, there were only 15 miles of cave discovered.
The CRF is a non-profit responsible for mapping out the passageways of the Mammoth cave system, which is estimated to still have up to 600 miles of the cave yet undiscovered.
Last year, Fatherly covered the discovery of eight more miles of cave, a find that took the known underground routes from 412 miles to 420. The newly discovered miles aren’t open to the public to walk through yet.
With the extra miles, there’s a chance new species of wildlife will be discovered, too. Since 1941, when the Mammoth Cave was officially named a national park, 130 species of wildlife have been discovered within it. This includes more than 70 species that have been classified as threatened or endangered.
For more details, check out the National Park Service’s website.