Laurel Caverns

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Laurel Caverns
Walk down in Laurel Caverns.jpg
Stairs, lit with electric lights, lead into the cavern.
LocationFarmington, Pennsylvania
Length4,972 meters (16,312 ft)[1]
Discovery1760s (first recorded exploration)[2]
GeologyKarst cave
Mississippian Loyalhanna limestone
AccessAdults: $14 USD
Seniors (65+): $11 USD
Children (12-18): $10 USD
Children (6-11): $10 USD
Children (0-5): free

Upper Caving (9 and up): $20 USD
Lower Caving (12 and up): $25 USD

Laurel Caverns, is the deepest cave in the northeastern United States and the largest in volume[citation needed]. Located in Farmington, Pennsylvania, it sits on Chestnut Ridge near Uniontown, about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Pittsburgh.

It is a privately owned show cave with a three-hour-long guided tour penetrating 46 stories deep into the mountain interior. It is within a calcareous sandstone[3] made up of 70% silica grains cemented together with 30% calcium carbonate and a small amount of iron oxide. The cave formed when the calcium carbonate was dissolved by groundwater allowing the silica to be washed away. This gives the cave rough walls, a sandy floor, and very few formations normally seen in the more common high calcium limestone caves. Laurel Caverns was also formed in an area of folded and fractured rock. Because of this, the entire cave is tilted thirteen degrees, resulting in many steep passageways. They tend to follow the fractures in the rock, resulting in a grid of long passageways.

Narrow section of a portion of the cave that can be viewed on the standard tour.

The cave has been known since the 18th century, and probably used by the Native Americans long before that[citation needed]. It was home to about 25,000 bats before the advent of white-nose syndrome.[4] It stays at a temperature of 12°C (52°F) year round.

The steep slope of some passageways causes an optical illusion known as a gravity hill. The illusion of a ball rolling uphill is an illustration of this effect.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Official Laurel Caverns website
  4. ^ Witek, Evan; King, Amanda (June 4, 2013). "Devastated bat population means more pests in Beaver County". The Beaver County Times. Bucks County, Pennsylvania: Calkins Media Incorporated. The cavern has lost nearly all of a population that used to number 25,000 bats.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°47′59″N 79°42′42″W / 39.79961°N 79.71161°W / 39.79961; -79.71161