Minnesota at a Glance Caves in Minnesota

2020; 1995
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Minnesota at a Glance Caves in Minnesota

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2020; 1995


Minnesota Geological Survey




Caves provide a view into an underground world populated with bats and uncommon creatures such as blind, colorless insects and fish. Natural caverns, large enough to hold entire buildings, may contain beautiful and delicate structures fashioned by nature from water and rock. Humans have been exploring, living in, and decorating caves for millennia. Today we can examine pictures on cave walls that illustrate the world in which humans lived thousands of years ago. For centuries, indigenous Americans and later European settlers in Minnesota have used natural and human-made caves along the Mississippi River bluffs in what is now the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (Alexander, 1980). Some of our national parks, such as Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, were established to protect large caves and to provide public access to the unique and often fragile underground world. Caves excite interest both as places to explore and as places to study. Caves are only one part of a group of landscape features known as karst. Karst landscapes are broad and regional in nature. In addition to caves, karst landscapes include, but are not limited to, underground streams, sinkholes, blind valleys, and springs.


Short summary of caves and karst in Minnesota. First published in 1995. Updated 8/2020 and provided in PDF format with 2 page or 4 page print options.

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Lively, R.S.. (2020). Minnesota at a Glance Caves in Minnesota. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/59431.

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