© 2017

Mammoth Cave

A Human and Natural History

  • Horton H. Hobbs III
  • Rickard A Olson
  • Elizabeth G Winkler
  • David C. Culver
  • Provides the first comprehensive interdisciplinary book on Mammoth Cave, the world's longest cave

  • Includes anthropology, geology, biology, and human history, making it unique in its range of coverage

  • Is richly illustrated, with dozens of color and black and white photographs


Part of the Cave and Karst Systems of the World book series (CAKASYWO)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Rickard S. Toomey III, Horton H. Hobbs III, Rickard A. Olson
    Pages 1-28
  3. George M. Crothers
    Pages 29-38
  4. Colleen O’Connor Olson
    Pages 39-62
  5. Stanley D. Sides
    Pages 63-76
  6. Michael Sutton
    Pages 77-95
  7. Arthur N. Palmer
    Pages 97-109
  8. Arthur N. Palmer
    Pages 111-121
  9. William B. White, Elizabeth L. White
    Pages 123-143
  10. William B. White
    Pages 145-162
  11. Rickard A Olson
    Pages 163-173
  12. Mona L. Colburn
    Pages 175-189
  13. Thomas L. Poulson
    Pages 199-207
  14. Kurt L. Helf, Rickard A. Olson
    Pages 209-226
  15. David C. Culver, Horton H. Hobbs III
    Pages 227-234
  16. Kathleen H. Lavoie
    Pages 235-250
  17. Steven C. Thomas, Rickard S. Toomey III
    Pages 251-264

About this book


This book reveals the science and beauty of Mammoth Cave, the world's longest cave, which has played an important role in the natural sciences. It offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary treatment of the cave, combining insights from leading experts in fields ranging from archeology and cultural history to life science and geosciences. The first animals specialized for cave life in North America, including beetles, spiders, crayfish, and fish, were discovered in Mammoth Cave in the 1840s. It has also been used and explored by humans, including Native Americans, who mined its sulfate minerals and later African-American slaves, who made a map of the cave. More recent stories include 'wars' between commercial cave owners, epic exploration trips by modern cave explorers, and of course tourism.

The first section of the book is an extensive description including maps and photos of the cave, its basic structural pattern, and how it relates to the surface lan
dscape. The second section covers the human history of utilization and exploration of the cave, including mining, tourism, and medical experiments. Cave science is the topic of the third section, including geology, hydrology, mineralogy, climatology, paleontology, ecology, biodiversity, and microbiology. The fourth section looks to the future, with an overview of environmental issues facing Mammoth Cave managers.

The book is intended for anyone interested in caves in general and Mammoth Cave in particular, experts in one discipline seeking information about other areas, and researchers and students interested in the many avenues of pursuit possible in Mammoth Cave.


Central Kentucky Karst Cave Exploration Cave Geology Cave Biology Longest Cave Speleology

Editors and affiliations

  • Horton H. Hobbs III
    • 1
  • Rickard A Olson
    • 2
  • Elizabeth G Winkler
    • 3
  • David C. Culver
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of BiologyWittenberg UniversitySpringfieldUSA
  2. 2.1950 Roy Hunter RoadCave Research FoundationCave CityUSA
  3. 3.Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  4. 4.American UniversityWashingtonUSA

Bibliographic information

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