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10 Things You Need To Know About Kartchner Caverns State Park Arizona

#1 The Kartchner Caverns have been voted best cave in the USA by USA Today Readers’ choice.

Flickr User arno92400

Flickr User arno92400

Check it out! We think it’s pretty fair to say you won’t be disappointed.

#2 The cave was discovered in 1984 by Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, but they didn’t tell owners James and Lois Kartchner about it until 1988.

Flickr User M P R

Flickr User M P R

They spent four years exploring their discovery and taking in the colors and the formations of the cave.

#3 They had to crawl for hours to reach the cave!

arizonaexperience.org

arizonaexperience.org

It was hidden away at the bottom of a sink hole, revealed only by warm, moist air flowing from a narrow crack in the hillside.

#4 The public finally learned of the cave in 1988 when it became an Arizona State Park.

Flickr User M P R

Flickr User M P R

Throughout its development, they’ve taken great care to preserve the cave as it is.

#5 The formations in caves are called speleothems.

cronkitenews.asu.edu

cronkitenews.asu.edu

They happen when water passes from the surface into the cave.

#6 Depending on whether the water is seeping, dripping, pooling, flowing, or condensing, the speleothems take many different forms.

archive.azcentral.com

archive.azcentral.com

For examples, stalactites grow down from the ceiling, and stalagmites grow up from the ground.

#7 The caverns have a ton of unique minerals.

upload.wikimedia.org

upload.wikimedia.org

The majority of the speleothems are made of calcite and travertine deposited by water.

#8 The Kartchner Caverns are home to the world’s longest soda straw stalactites.

s4.thingpic.com

s4.thingpic.com

They’re around twenty-one feet and three inches and you can find them in the Throne Room.

#9 They’ve also got Kubla Khan, the tallest and most massive column in Arizona, and the world’s most extensive formation of brushshite moonmilk.

turner.com

turner.com

You can find them both in the aptly named Big Room.

#10 Many of the formations have been growing for tens of thousands of years!

 coolthings az.com

coolthings az.com

Obviously, they grow very slowly. They’re super fragile, so remember not to touch them, that way we can preserve that natural state of the cave and keep the speleothems growing!

Cheyenne Reed

Cheyenne Reed was born and raised in Ohio. She recently relocated to rural Wyoming to try out working at an exclusive guest ranch. She graduated from Kent State University with an English degree, and most enjoys writing about travel. If she has free time, you may run into her anywhere, because she is always itching to explore new places. Her personal motto is, "Any day can be an adventure if you make it one!"

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