CAVES have fascinated man since he first used them for shelter some hundreds of thousands of years ago. They have been the subject of many legends and stories that were carried down by word of mouth from generation to generation. The ogres and other cave monsters of European folklore are well known, as are the stories of caves having bottomless pits, disappearing streams, clouds of bats, and unusual rock formations that puzzled yet intrigued the early settlers of the United States. Caves have been described in song and story. "Fingalls Cave Overture" by Felix Mendelssohn portrays the waves washing into a famous cave on one of Scotland's Hebrides Islands. Mark Twain in his popular "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" gave a vivid account of McDougal's cave in which Becky Thatcher and Tom were lost for three days. In the history of our country, caves provided shelter for the aborigines, dens for Spanish treasure in the early exploration period, temporary family shelters in the colonial period, sources of chemicals for fertilizer and explosives in the Revolutionary War, hiding places for escaped slaves in the Civil War, places to hide loot from stage coach holdups in the western frontier, and shelters for people and storage for valuable documents in the nuclear age. Many of the caves in the United States are well known because of their historical and legendary background. However, few people are aware that some of the Nation's most interesting caves are found in Minnesota. Names such as Devil's Den, Indian Treasure, and Horse Thief reflect the romance of these caves. Other fascinating names of Minnesota caves are listed in the Appendix. The majority of Minnesota' s caves occur in the southeastern part of the State --mostly in Fillmore and Olmsted counties (see back outside cover). This area is reached from the north and south by U. S. Highways 52 and 63, and from the east and west via U. S. Highways 14 and 16. Caves also occur in Blue Earth, Dodge, Houston, LeSueur, Mower, Nicollet, Wabasha, and Winona counties and in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Minnesota caves, as we find them today, are the result of some hundreds of millions of years of preparation by interacting earth processes. It is the purpose of this booklet to attempt to describe their natural history in the hope that the account will give the reader a richer and fuller understanding of these subterranean wonders.
Hogberg, R.K.; Bayer, T.N..
Educational Series 4. Guide to the Caves of Minnesota.
Minnesota Geological Survey.
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