Carlsbad Caverns National Park

a national park in SE New Mexico: site of Carlsbad Caverns. 71 sq. mi. (184 sq. km).

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Preserve, southeastern New Mexico, U.S. Established as a national monument in 1923 and as a national park in 1930, it covers 73 sq mi (189 sq km).

Beneath the surface winds a maze of underground chambers; one of the largest caverns ever discovered, the Big Room, is about 2,000 ft (600 m) long and 1,100 ft (330 m) wide, and its ceiling arches 255 ft (78 m) above the floor. In the summer a colony of bats inhabits a part of the caverns known as Bat Cave.

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 area of the Chihuahuan Desert in southeastern New Mexico, U.S., near the base of the Guadalupe Mountains (a segment of the Sacramento Mountains). It was established in 1923 as a national monument, designated a national park in 1930, and proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. Beneath the park, which has a surface area of 73 square miles (189 square km), are 83 individual caves, including Carlsbad Cavern, the park's namesake. The park also includes Rattlesnake Springs, a small enclave about 5 miles (8 km) to the southeast.

 About 250 million years ago, a shallow sea ringed by a vast, horseshoe-shaped limestone reef covered the area. This formation, called Capitan Reef, is found in southeastern New Mexico and western Texas and includes Guadalupe Mountains National Park, just southwest of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. After the sea evaporated, the constant dripping of acidic groundwater carved out the massive underground chambers, converted limestone to gypsum, and formed enormous stalactites (stalactite and stalagmite), stalagmites, and other cave deposits ranging from the delicate to the bizarre.

      Pictographs near the entrance to Carlsbad Cavern give evidence that Native Americans knew of the site 1,000 years ago, but it wasn't until the 1880s that nearby settlers rediscovered the location and began mining it for bat guano to be used as fertilizer. One of the miners, James Larkin White—who claimed to have discovered the cavern—explored the cave further and began giving tours lit by kerosene lanterns, lowering the curious to a depth of 170 feet (52 metres) in bat-guano buckets. White also guided early scientific expeditions into the caves, including a major reconnaisance conducted for the U.S. Geological Survey in 1924.

      Carlsbad Cavern has a labyrinth of underground chambers, including one of the largest ever discovered. The total length of the rooms and passages is still unknown, but the explored part of the main cavern is more than 30 miles (48 km) long, of which 3 miles (5 km) are open to visitors. Of the three major levels, the deepest is 1,027 feet (313 metres) belowground. Visitors can walk or take an elevator to the 755-foot (230-metre) level and explore the Big Room, which measures about 2,000 feet (610 metres) long and 1,100 feet (335 metres) wide at its greatest extents and has a ceiling that arches 255 feet (78 metres) above the floor. Found within are the Giant Dome, a stalagmite 62 feet (19 metres) tall; the Twin Domes, only slightly smaller, superbly proportioned and delicately fluted; and the so-called Bottomless Pit, which is some 700 feet (210 metres) deep. During the summer a colony of about one million Mexican free-tailed bats (bat) inhabits a part of the caverns known as Bat Cave; each evening at sunset they swarm out of the cave's entrance to feed in the surrounding area.

 To the southwest of Carlsbad Cavern, within the park, is Slaughter Canyon Cave, with the Monarch, one of the world's tallest columns (89 feet [27 metres]), and a delicate rimstone dam (natural dam formed by the accumulation of calcium carbonate). Near the northern border of the park is Lechuguilla Cave. Since 1984, when exploration of Lechuguilla began, more than 100 miles (160 km) of passages have been surveyed. It is the fifth longest known cave in the world, the third longest in the United States, and it contains underwater formations unlike those found anywhere else in the world. In 1993 Congress passed legislation establishing a cave protection zone of about 10 square miles (25 square km) around Lechuguilla.

      The park's surface area is a sanctuary for such native plants as yucca, ocotillo, Texas black walnut, and desert willow. Park wildlife includes mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, rattlesnakes, and pumas (mountain lions).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park — Carlsbad Caverns Nationalpark Weg in der Höhle zwischen Felsformationen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park — Infobox protected area | name = Carlsbad Caverns National Park iucn category = II caption = locator x = 96 locator y = 127 location = Eddy County, New Mexico, U.S. nearest city = Carlsbad lat degrees = 32 lat minutes = 10 lat seconds = 31 lat… …   Wikipedia

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park — Parc national de Carlsbad Caverns Parc national de Carlsbad Caverns Carlsbad Caverns National Park Catégorie II de la CMAP (Parc national) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park — Sp Kárlsbado Urvų nacionãlinis párkas Ap Carlsbad Caverns National Park L JAV (N. Meksika); PPP …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park — national park containing a series of underground limestone caverns and a fossil reef from the Permian period (located in New Mexico, USA) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park — noun a national park in New Mexico featuring what is probably the world s largest cavern with spectacular underground formations • Instance Hypernyms: ↑national park • Part Holonyms: ↑New Mexico, ↑Land of Enchantment, ↑NM * * * a national park in …   Useful english dictionary

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park — Carls′bad Cav′erns Na′tional Park′ n. geg a national park in SE New Mexico: limestone caverns. 73 sq. mi. (189 sq. km) …   From formal English to slang

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park — area, SE New Mexico; contains Carlsbad Caverns, a series of limestone caves …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Carlsbad Caverns National Park — This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Carlsbad Caverns National …   Wikipedia

  • Carlsbad Caverns — Nationalpark Weg in der Höhle zwischen Felsformationen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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