The Carlsbad Caverns National Park (English Carlsbad Caverns National Park ) is a national park in the USA. It is located in the U.S. state of New Mexico and is world famous for the caves - the " Carlsbad Caverns " ( Carlsbad Caverns ) - and other rock formations resulting from a reef from the Permian period. The park has 83 individual caves, including the deepest known limestone cave in the U.S. with a depth of 487 meters below the surface. The Carlsbad Caverns has one of the world's largest underground rooms.

The area was made ​​on 25 October 1923 as " National Monument" under protection and upgraded on 14 May 1930 a national park. The Carlsbad Caverns were appointed on 6 December 1995 on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The National Park spans an area of 189 km ².

The cave is very well developed; there are both tours where visitors by means of an audio tour is informed, as well as a large number of guided tours. Visitors can explore the cave from the natural entrance or can be brought forth the elevator directly into the heart of the visitors cave. This elevator is also the output.

Other caves in the national park, which can be visited on guided tours, Slaughter Canyon Cave are and Spider Cave. Both caves are not developed touristic and can be reached via a long walk through mountainous terrain. In Spider Cave visitor has in parts crawl and climb. Because of the strongly limited numbers of participants prior reservation is required.

The park is open year round, with the peak visiting time is from June to August.

Geology and origin

The history of the caves begins 250 million years ago with the emergence of a 600 -kilometer reef in a national lake that marked the area at that time. The reef was in the shape of a horseshoe and was built from the remains of sponges, algae and shells. By the time the lake evaporated and the reef was buried under salt and gypsum deposits.

A few million years ago, the area began to lift and erosion began to expose the old reef. Rainwater, which had become slightly acidic by air and ground, seeping into columns of ancient reef and began to slowly dissolve the limestone and enlarge cracks and crevices. Thus began a process that has led to today's large chambers at the end. At the same time hydrogen sulfide gas began from huge gas and oil bearings below the old riffs outgas. This combined with the ground water to form sulfuric acid and supported the solution process of lime. The now exposed reef is now part of the Guadalupe Mountains and the vast chambers were added to the Carlsbad Caverns.

Origin of limestone formations

The formation of stalactites and stalagmites and many other limestone formations inside the cave began about 500,000 years ago, so much later than the formation of the cave itself Every drop of rain that seeps into the cave, dissolves its way a bit of lime. If it is exposed to the air in the cave and some water evaporates, so it can separate lime again. It runs a constant process of Kalkauf and degradation, which produces the most wonderful formations.


The caves are home to a maximum of around one million Faltlippenfledermäusen the kind of " Mexican Free- tailed Bat" ( Tadarida brasiliensis). At last count (2005) around 400,000 were counted to 500,000. Due to a prolonged drought over a decade in the region there are fewer insects which feed on the Mexican Freetails. In a tight food supply the bats looking at other summer areas.

During the day they hang tightly packed to the ceiling of the so-called Bat Cave, a cave site near the natural entrance. This part of the cave is closed to the public and accessible only to researchers. At nightfall, to make gigantic bat swarms to search for food. This spectacle can be seen from the amphitheater at the entrance.

The Bat Cave is the bats as weatherproof accommodation and more importantly as a place of rearing for your boy. The bats migrate each year from Mexico to the caves to give birth in June here. At night, the boys are left behind in the cave, while the mothers go looking for food. In July or August, the boys usually start to their first flight attempt, and in October or November, the return trip starts to winter quarters in Mexico.

The history of the county of

Over a thousand years ago, the cave has been visited by the Indians to seek protection from the weather. From this time many wall drawings are near the natural entrance.

By 1900, settlers discovered the cave after they had become aware of the huge swarms of bats. Some started the inventories to reduce guano to sell him as a natural fertilizer. The first exploration of the cave undertook a cowboy named Jim White, who was fascinated by the cave and spent a lot of time to explore them. His tales of huge underground rooms but was only given credence, as he could prove with photos.

In 1923, then an official inspection was carried out by the Home Office. As a result, the cave was first to the National Monument, and later declared a National Park.

The exploration of the cave continues to the present day. So was the second largest chamber of the cave, the Guadalupe - room, discovered only in 1966. Yet recent discoveries are the Bifrost room in 1982 and the Chocolate High ( 1993).