Arizona is home to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, crazy desert wildlife, and very hot summers.
#1 The Kartchner Caverns have been voted best cave in the USA by USA Today Readers’ choice.
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.
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!
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.
Throughout its development, they’ve taken great care to preserve the cave as it is.
#5 The formations in caves are called speleothems.
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.
For examples, stalactites grow down from the ceiling, and stalagmites grow up from the ground.
#7 The caverns have a ton of unique minerals.
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.
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.
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!
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!