Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Mammoth Cave

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MAMMOTH CAVE, a cavern near Green river, Edmonson co., Ky., about 85 miles S. S. W. of Louisville. The cave is about 10 miles long, but it requires upward of 150 miles of traveling to explore its multitudinous avenues, chambers, grottoes, rivers, and cataracts. The main cave is 4 miles long, from 40 to 300 feet wide, and rises in height to 125 feet. The most interesting features of the cave are: The Chief City or Temple, covering an area of about four acres, and having a dome of solid rock 120 feet high; the Star Chamber, about 500 feet long by 70 feet wide, with a ceiling 70 feet high, consisting of black gypsum dotted with many white points which, when the chamber is lighted, have all the appearance of stars; Silliman's avenue, 1½ miles long, 20 to 200 feet wide, and 20 to 40 feet high; Cleveland's Cabinet, an arch 50 feet wide, 10 feet high, and 2 miles long, covered with a variety of formations in all sorts of shapes and of many colors; the Maelstrom Abyss and Bottomless Pit, each of which is 20 feet wide and about 175 feet deep, and the river Styx, 450 feet long and crossed by a natural bridge about 30 feet high. The cave contains various kinds of animals, and there are also found lizards, crickets, frogs, bats, and different sorts of fish. The latter include the famous eyeless fish, which are white in color. The Mammoth Cave is supposed to have been discovered in 1809. The atmosphere is pure and healthful and there is a temperature throughout the year of about 59°. It is visited annually by many sightseers.