Page:EB1911 - Volume 17.djvu/549

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Rotunda; but few other bones of any description have been found. The so-called Mammoth Cave “ mummies ” (Le. bodies kept by being inhumed in nitrous earth), with accompanying utensils, ornaments, braided sandals and other relics, were found in Short and Salt Caves near by, and removed to Mammoth Cave for exhibition. The Main Cave, which abruptly ends 4m. from the entrance, is joined by winding passages, with spacious galleries on different levels; and, although the diameter of the area of the whole cavern is less than ro rn., the conbined length of all accessible avenues is supposed to be about 1 5o m. The chief points of interest are arranged along two lines of exploration, besides which there are certain side excursions. and was formerly regarded as the finest room in the cavern. Others admire more the Mammoth Dome, at the termination of Spark's Avenue, where a cataract falls from a height of 150 ft. amid walls wonderfully draped with stalactitic tapestry. The Egyptian Temple, which is a continuation of the Mammoth Dome, contains six massive columns, two of them quite perfect and So ft. high and 2 5 ft. in diameter. The combined length of these contiguous chambers is 400 ft. By a crevice above they are connected with an' arm of Audubon's Avenue. Lucy's Dome, one of the group of jessup Domes, is supposed to be the loftiest of all these vertical shafts. A pit called the “ Maelstrom, " in Croghan's Hall, is the spot most remote from the mouth of

The “ short route ” requires about four hours, and the “long the cave. There are some fine stalactites near this pit, and route ” nine. Audubon's Avenue, the one nearest the entrance, is occupied in winter by myriads of bats, that hang from the walls in clusters like swarms of bees. The Gothic Avenue contains numerous large stalactites and stalagmites, and an interesting place called the Chapel, and ends in a double dome and cascade. Among the most surprising features of cave scenery are the vertical shafts that pierce through all levels, from the uppermost galleries, or even from the sink-holes, down to the lowest floor. These are styled pits or domes, according to the position occupied by the observer. A crevice behind a block of stone, 4O ft. long by 20 ft. wide, called the Giant's Coffin, admits the explorer to a. place where six pits, varying in depth from 65 ft. to zoo ft., exist in an area of 600 yds. This includes Gorin's Dome, which is viewed from a point midway in its side, and also from its top, others in the Fairy Grotto and in Pensico Avenue; but, considering the magnitude of Mammoth Cave, its poverty of stalactitic ornamentation is remarkable. The wealth of crystals is, however, surprising, and these are of endless variety and fantastic beauty.

Cleveland's Cabinet and Marion's Avenue, each a mile long, are adorned by myriads of gypsum rosettes and curiously twisted crystals, called “ oulopholites.” These cave flowers are unfolded by pressure, as if a sheaf were forced through a tight binding, or the crystal fibres curl outward from the centre of the group. Thus spotless arches of 5o ft. span are embellished by floral clusters and garlands, hiding nearly every foot of the grey limestone. The botryoidal formations hanging by thousands in Mary's Vineyard resemble mimic clusters of grapes,