karst cave


These caves contain the longest subterranean river known in the world, the Rubicon (not to be confused with the Rubicon in Italy). The caves opened in 1912 and were originally equipped with torches. 8,000 years ago Paleolithic hunters sheltered themselves in the caves; much later the same area was used as a wine shelter. More recently the caves were used as a shelter during World War II.


Cave and Karst Training Promotes Protection of Fragile Resources  

The BLM manages over 1,500 caves and karst (an area of limestone terrain characterized by sinks, ravines, and underground streams) in eleven states across the west.

Last week, ten BLM and three U.S. Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Specialists participated in a full-day training session on Cave & Karst Management, led by two BLM cave specialists. The course included a short classroom session about the Federal Cave Protection Act of 1988 and other Cave/Karst Management laws, regulations, policies and procedures as well as the background and policies specific to preventing the spread of White Nose Syndrome among bat colonies.

For the field portion of the training, the group visited a lava tube east of Bend, Oregon. They looked for evidence that the cave meets the criteria for “Significant Cave status under the Federal Cave Protection Act.“  Prior to leaving the site, the group practiced decontamination procedures designed to prevent any spread of WNS from cave to cave.  

CLICK HERE to view all photos from the training, and to read about the management techniques BLM uses to balance land use activities and the protection of the nation’s fragile cave and karst resources.


Let’s take a tour of Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, by far the longest known cave system in the world.


This is Thunder Cave, in Australia. This is a classic Karst cave, created by the erosion of limestone by underground streams. Now, the ocean has invaded the cave and created a “blowhole” where the action of waves is concentrated. Until 1990 there was an arch above this inlet.


Ever gone cave diving several hundred meters beneath the surface of the ocean in a location in Albania with incredibly clear water? If you haven’t, check this out. Great views of life in the upper portions of the cave giving way to sedimentary limestone layers, deposited on the edge of the Tethys Ocean (and now eroding) as they go down.