karst cave


Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece


Video taken in the largest volume known cave in the world


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.

Reflecting on Dream Lake

Telling roof from floor is a bit tricky when the spring water in a part of Luray Cavern (in Virginia) is so still that it takes on mirror like qualities, so the old question of which are stalactites (holding on tight to the ceiling) or mites is open to debate. The rocks here are Ordovician magnesium rich limestones called dolomites deposited in a long gone ocean some 480 million years ago. They were then folded into a mountain range (whose American remnants are known as the Appalachians) when the Iapetus Ocean closed up during the assembly of the supercontinent Pangaea. Later acidic waters hollowed out networks of caves in a set of processes called karst erosion, whereby the limestone is dissolved and carried away to be reprecipitated.


Image credit: David Jones


Drone captured video of tightrope walking above the entrance to Harwood Hole Cave System, New Zealand


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.


Motion control stabilized swim along with professional diver exploring submerged cave