Wyandotte Caves have been known for over four thousand years. Commercial tour operations began in 1851, following the significant discovery of a new section of cavern.
Limestone dissolution beginning at least two million years ago formed Wyandotte Caves. While the area including the cave remained unglaciated, the advance and retreat of ice sheets to the north and thus the effects of glaciation indirectly affected the cavern.
As the Ohio River deepened its channel in response to high volumes of melt water discharge, its tributary Blue River also deepened its channel. As Blue River dropped, so did the water table, resulting in the dissolution of more limestone at lower levels in the cave system. Because limestone is more soluble in cold water than warm, the icy precipitation of the glacial age very effectively dissolved the limestone. Later damming of Blue River by glacial outwash sediments resulted in the flooding of portions of the cave.
The Historic Cave is distinguished from other Indiana caves by its large passageways and rooms. These have resulted from the process of limestone dissolution and ceiling collapse. Speleothems decorate portions of the cavern, including the 1300-foot section known as the Garden of Helictites, one of the largest displays of such formations in the world. Native Americans used the Historic Cave as a source for flint for tools and other minerals over a period of two thousand years. Wyandotte's flint was traded throughout the region. Early explorers of the cave found the remains of bark torches throughout the cave as well as evidence of mining activities.
Wyandotte is the fourth oldest commercial cave in the US, and only two other caverns have been in continuous operation longer. Over the years, several hotels were built at the cavern to accommodate guests who stayed several days to explore the cave.
The Indiana Bat was first discovered at Wyandotte Caves many years ago. Indiana bats are considered a "social" bat and roost in tightly packed clusters containing as many as 300-500 bats per square foot. In the winter they seek out cold, stable caves to hibernate. In the summer they emerge and use large trees with loose bark to roost and raise their young.
Indiana Bats are voracious eaters of insects preying primarily on moths and larger flying insects. They are often found feeding over open water or on the edges of fields and other openings.
Remember, all bats are useful in maintaining an ecological balance and should be left alone whenever possible. While some bats can and do carry rabies, it is very rare, and you are much more at risk from dogs and raccoons.
Pictures and information were provided by Wyandotte Caves
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