The Ozarks region of Missouri and Arkansas contains over 8,000 known caves, including a number of World Class caves. Most Ozarks caves are “wild” caves, but a few caves have been developed as commercial caves or show caves. The Ozarks Plateau, or Ozarks Uplift, is the largest extensively elevated landmass in the US between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachians. The caves in this area are solution caves, formed in the limestone and dolomite rock that predominate in the region. Deposition of calcite results in many dripstone features or speleothems, such as stalagtites, stalagmites, columns, drapes, soda straws, helictites, etc. Ozark caves are also home to many interesting creatures, including bats, salamanders, fish, crayfish, and numerous arthropods. These caves have formed from geological processes over thousands of years, and the cave fauna has also evolved over such long periods. Ozarks caves also contain many fossils, providing a window into the past. This site contains images of just a few of these natural wonders.
Always be respectful and avoid any damage or disturbance when exploring caves.
** Important Note: White Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease of bats that has decimated bat populations in some northeastern U.S. caves. It is spreading rapidly across the U.S. Although the degree to which humans may spread the disease is unknown, many caves have been closed to exploration. The latest information on this disease may be found on the National Speleological Society White Nose Syndrome page
Lloyd Morrison is a member of the National Speleological Society (member # 42496).
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