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30 Million Year Old Smoky Mountain Cave!

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posted on May, 2 2017 @ 01:43 AM
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At a length of more than a mile, an underground depth of more than 500', and with pools of water more than 70' deep, the caverns display some of the best formations in the world that you can see firsthand.

I am fortunate to live just a few minutes from this place and I wanted to share it with you guys. There is a ton of history and lore surrounding the Tuckaleechee Caverns, but the most impressive thing has to be their massive size. Many of the formations you see in the video are more than 12' tall, but it's hard to tell without a scale comparison.

Around 5 minutes into the video, the tour guide talks about the formations in the great room, which is massive - 150' tall and big enough to easily fit a football field inside. You can get an idea of the scale when she tells us that one of the formations is over 24' tall. These formations grow around 1 inch every 100 years! Is that a 29,000 year old stalagmite?

The video may seem a bit grainy, that's because I enhanced it to get a brighter and more detailed overall appearance. It's very dark down there and was hard on my average camera.

I hope you guys enjoy the video and I'll do my best to answer any questions you have.

(Excuse the corny dragon at the beginning, I have a 4 year-old little brother who wanted to know if there were any dragons in the cave, so I threw one in the for him)



www.tuckaleecheecaverns.com...
The caverns were opened to the public for a year in 1931 and then closed because of the Depression.

As young boys, W.E. “Bill” Vananda and Harry Myers of Townsend played near the entrance to the caverns and frequently ventured into them. While students at Maryville College in 1949, they got to talking about the feasibility of opening the cave to the public.

When Associated Press Pulitzer Prize Winning columnist Hal Boyle interviewed them about 1960, Myers recalled “We played Tom Sawyer in the main passage as kids. We explored it for three-quarters of a mile, sometimes wriggling on our bellies, and lighting our way with homemade lamps – pop bottles filled with kerosene.”

And over a cup of coffee they decided they would try to turn the cavers into a tourist attraction. Nobody would lend them money. Both were married and had two children. They went to Alaska and labored on construction jobs to raise funds.


Tuckaleechee Caverns


How Formations Develop

Cave formations are commonly known as “cave onyx.” It is a form of calcium carbonate which is the same material of which limestone is made. Its only value is the beauty it adds to the cave.

It is brittle and will break like glass. The acid from the touch of one’s hand to cave onyx will destroy the gloss on it and make it dull and unattractive.

Cave onyx is formed by surface water which combines with carbon dioxide which is given off by plants, and forms a mild carbonic acid. The acid dissolves limestone rock (calcium carbonate) and forms calcium bicarbonate which is soluable in water. This solution seeps down into the cave.

The limestone will stay in bicarbonate form only as long as the carbon dioxide is present. Since carbon dioxide is normally a gas, it takes pressure and low temperature to keep it in the solution.

edit on Tue May 2 2017 by DontTreadOnMe because: trimmed overly long quote IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS




posted on May, 2 2017 @ 04:26 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

I'm always happy to enjoy my morning coffee with one of your videos. The dragon is a sweet touch for your brother

I've been to the caverns in McMinnville (Home of the Bluegrass Underground) and a few local caves (private property).
Thanks for showcasing yet more beauty that the state has to offer.

edit on 2-5-2017 by TNMockingbird because: PS the Steelers got Dobbs...



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 04:45 AM
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I love your stories about the forgotten history of East Tennessee, please keep them coming.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 04:46 AM
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a reply to: TNMockingbird

I'm glad you enjoyed it, I had a great time making it too. I haven't been to really any other caves. I need to check out Forbidden Caverns and a few of the other good ones in the area.

The Bluegrass Underground, is that the name of the cave? I like the McMinnville area, may have to check it out.

Normally I hate the idea of going into a cave. My biggest fear is probably underwater caves. I imagine them as tiny and completely claustrophobic, but the one like Tuckaleechee are just so massive you hardly realize you are in an underground cave.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 04:58 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

cumberlandcaverns.com...
bluegrassunderground.com...

Surveyor Aaron Higgenbotham discovered Higgenbotham Cave (now a national landmark) in 1810. Venturing into the cave alone, he was trapped for three days on a high ledge when his torch went out. According to local legend, his hair had turned white by the time a rescue party found him. Aaron Higgenbotham did not penetrate very far underground, but shortly after the close of the Civil War, someone explored for over a mile in Higgenbotham Cave and discovered a huge avenue–60 ft. wide, 10 ft. high, and 2000 ft. long–the “Ten Acre Room.” The name “Shelah Waters” and the date “1869″ are inscribed on the walls in candle smoke or scratched into the rock in many rather remote areas. This is the oldest name and date in the cave. Higgenbotham Cave is mentioned in old histories of Warren County as a local attraction, and Thomas L. Bailey in “Resources of Tennessee” first described it in print for 1918.


Unfortunately I don't remember the story exactly regarding the chandelier in the volcano room but, I seem to recall that it may have came from a hotel in NYC that was being demolished. City may be wrong...
Can you imagine the excitement of stumbling upon a cave for the first time as an 'explorer' and being the first one in the cave in so many years?
Have you ever heard the story of the 'petrified soldier' in Grassy Cove cave?

During the Civil War, Grassy Cove's caves were an invaluable source of saltpeter, which was used in the manufacture of gunpowder. According to a local legend, the body of a Confederate soldier (in full uniform) was found in a petrified state in one of the caves shortly after the war. When no one claimed the body, it was buried in the Grassy Cove Methodist Cemetery. Several residents claimed to have seen the soldier's ghost in the church, however, and when church attendance began to drop as a result, the soldier's body was disinterred and reburied in an undisclosed location
en.wikipedia.org...



edit on 2-5-2017 by TNMockingbird because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 05:22 AM
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a reply to: TNMockingbird

I was thinking about what it would be like to have a concert in a cave like this. The tour guide was 100'+ away from me when she was talking and I could hear her like she was next to me. Pretty cool to see there is a place where they do this and it's not really far away. I'll definitely need to check it out.

I hadn't heard about the petrified soldier. What could petrify the body so quickly? Is it something in caves that can cause it or is it part of the mystery to the story?



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 05:24 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

What if the stalagmites grew 5 inches in a year when it was wetter and warmer
How do you know it grew 1 inch every 3 or whatever year for sure.
What if there was a 5000 year drought and there was no water at all

Cool dragon



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 05:35 AM
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a reply to: Raggedyman

I personally don't know the answer. I can tell that it is said they grow 1"/yr on average. Maybe the sciences have factored in the potential for lower/higher water levels based on evidence of climate change over the years and created this growth measurement average.

I'd imagine there are instances where formations have been observed for 100+ years. It seems that any major deviation in the growth rate from a yearly basis would be noted and included in the avg. growth rate. I'm sure there have also been comparisons of observations from many formations in locations around the world. Any significant change in annual growth rate would surely be noted and reflected in the commonly accepted average growth rate.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 06:00 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

No don't stress it
I just always wonder how they know these things, I mean it's a long time, it's a lot of assumption
I have seen 2 meter stalagmites in man made "caves" that are not 40 years old. Who is to say they won't stop growing or have in drought years



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 06:07 AM
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a reply to: esteay812



I hadn't heard about the petrified soldier. What could petrify the body so quickly? Is it something in caves that can cause it or is it part of the mystery to the story?

Well, it is just a legend but, I would think, if true, perhaps the lack of oxygen and organisms deep in the cave would be the cause.
It's said that when he was found, some time after the civil war, that his skin was hard like marble. The location of the body is a secret. It had been moved (maybe twice) due to superstition and ghost stories.

I think the cave is no longer open to the public (salt peter cave) due to White Nose Syndrome.


edit on 2-5-2017 by TNMockingbird because: context



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 06:10 AM
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I used to be fascinated with caves as a child. Interesting things. Dangerous too. 4 teenagers died in one here. It had a submerged water entrance which meant that the chamber was isolated from the atmosphere.

Unfortunately the kids didn't realize that other people before them depleted the oxygen in the small cave. All four drown before they could make it out. They left in a hurry because of the effects of oxygen deprivation, but didn't make it throught the short underwater entrance.

They sealed off the entrance with concrete after that.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 06:13 AM
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a reply to: TNMockingbird

White Nose Syndrome, haha. That sounds like something out of a Pablo Escobar documentary.

I've noticed "keep-out" signs around a lot of the bat caves. I think it's mostly so people don't disturb the bats, but I wonder if it has anything to do with white-nose syndrome?



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 06:18 AM
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a reply to: Miracula2

That's a nightmare scenario for sure. I know a lot of people like to do the underwater caving, but I just don't think I could ever do it. Scares the crap out of me just thinking about it. I really don't like to even watch someone else doing it.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 06:30 AM
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a reply to: esteay812
Thank you so very much for sharing! S&F! What a wonderful thread!
I just returned from the Great Smokey Mountains. I LOVE that place! Second only to my home of West Virginia. (OK maybe I'm a little bias, LOL)



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 07:15 AM
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originally posted by: esteay812
a reply to: TNMockingbird

White Nose Syndrome, haha. That sounds like something out of a Pablo Escobar documentary.

I've noticed "keep-out" signs around a lot of the bat caves. I think it's mostly so people don't disturb the bats, but I wonder if it has anything to do with white-nose syndrome?


Haha! The movie Blow comes to mind!

Likely the signage is due to WNS.
Here's some info
www.whitenosesyndrome.org...
33 states and 5 provinces in Canada so far.
If folks would be mindful to decontaminate or disinfect their equipment there may be no need for the closures and bars across entrances (we have those locally). But, we can safely assume that's not going to happen naturally or regularly enough to ensure that human spread of the disease (which is not primary) stops.
Interestingly (to me anyway) it (WNS) is thought to be (caused) by a fungus that was introduced from Europe.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 07:42 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

I love going to caves.
Of course I've been limited to caves with electric lights and a tour guide and a snack bar near the parking lot but still the formations are amazing, and the quality of the air, the sound are so alien compared to topside.
The Appalachian mountains are loaded with caves. Upstate N.Y. has Howe Caverns, the mountains of Shenandoah valley have a few I've been to and Kentucky has mammoth cave which I've never been to.

In two the guide turned the lights off so we could get an idea what a true spelunker would experience if their light was lost. You literally cannot see your hand in front of your face.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 07:50 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

There is one in Virginia not far from Tennessee's border that has a cavern so large they held balls in it once upon a time. A formation near the opening of the cavern looks like a ticket taker at the theater. I think they called it the general.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 08:00 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

Wow, i didn't even know that was there. I live in murfreesboro. there are lots of caves around here but nothing like you have presented. Mcminnville (aka Mcmethville) is beautiful but you have to be careful which caves you try to explore. Never know when you'll stumble upon some enterprising toothless bastard.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 08:06 AM
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a reply to: esteay812

I also heard that if you touch them the oils from your hand stop the growth and so people are told not to touch them. Many from the time the caves were first explored have halted their growth because they didn't realize what touching them would do.



posted on May, 2 2017 @ 08:17 AM
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originally posted by: Sillyolme
a reply to: esteay812

There is one in Virginia not far from Tennessee's border that has a cavern so large they held balls in it once upon a time. A formation near the opening of the cavern looks like a ticket taker at the theater. I think they called it the general.

Hi neighbor!
luraycaverns.com...
Visited here many times growing up.
Spent some years in Manassas, Fauquier County and Culpeper areas.



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