The Cavern Classroom

Welcome to the Black Hills Cavern’s Classroom! Browse through the content below to learn about the discovery and development of the caverns. Go back to prehistoric times and discover how caverns are formed.  Learn about the delicate balance between man and the underground water system. (Feel free to reproduce any part of this section for use in educational programming.)

Geology & Chemistry

The walls of the Black Hills Caverns consist of two types of limestone (coeymans and manlius) from different periods of the Earth’s early history, as well as a rock known as rondout waterred.

Cave Conservation

Great care must be taken to protect & preserve these great underground wonders. Caves are non-renewable, natural resources which benefit and enrich our lives in many ways, few of which are: insect control, scientific knowledge, water supply, education, and recreation.

Cave Life

With the exception of a few bats near the natural entrance, moss growing around the electric lights, and bacteria in the underground stream, there is little animal or plant life in the Black Hills Caverns.

Prehistoric Era

It takes many thousands of years for the underground rooms to be formed. The rain water soaks through the soil, picking up carbon dioxide from the vegetation and the soil. Water & carbon dioxide form a mild acid, carbonic acid, which, as it seeps through the limestone forms calcium carbonate. The calcite is deposited as crystals, stalactites, stalagmites, and many formations found in caverns. Scientists believe nature began to slowly craft the Black Hills Caverns six million years ago- long before the ancient, extinct animal known as the Woolly Mammoth appeared on Earth. The Caverns are unique for more than their age and beauty – they are among a very small number of mineral caves int he world.