Blue Spring Cave - M and N Passages

On this trip, Anne Elmore and Bill Walters lead myself, Kristen Bobo, Greg King, Mike West, and members of the Sewanee Mountain Grotto into the N-trunk of Blue Spring Cave. At the time of the trip, this cave held the distinction of being Tennessee's largest and the 36th largest in the world.

This was the first time I had seen the many delicate forms gypsum and other evaporites can assume in a pristine underground environment. Flowers, beards, fish scale, frosted flakes, snowballs, and needles adorning the passage for nearly a mile as we strolled deep below the surface. In other locations rugosa coral fossils sprang from the ceilings and walls with water worn weathering stripping the limestone from around them.

It seemed unlike that anything could further "wow" me than the minerals and fossils mentioned above, but one last surprise lay in store: jaguar footprints from the Pleistocene epoch. The footprints of this massive cat, likely the species Panthera onca augusta, stretched a hundred or so feet and gave evidence that this animal once paced the same passage where I now stood.

As I revisit (and rewrite) this memory in 2023, Blue Spring Cave continues to hold a special place in my heart. It was here that I first grasped the notion that caves are not just geological wonders but also unique museums, preserving the history of our planet in their depths.

The full album can be viewed here.

Sewanee Mountain & Upper Cumberland Grotto at the Entrance, Blue Spring Cave, White Co, TN Gypsum Snowball, Blue Spring Cave, White Co, TN Gypsum Formation, Blue Spring Cave, White Co, TN Gypsum Formation, Blue Spring Cave, White Co, TN Gypsum Playdoh Factory, Blue Spring Cave, White Co, TN


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