Mercer Caverns

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tour group in Mercer Caverns, California
Aragonite in the lower levels of Mercer Caverns, California

Mercer Caverns is a show cave located one mile north of Murphys in Calaveras County California.[1] It is named after the gold prospector Walter J. Mercer who discovered the caves around 1885 and filed a claim.[2] The caverns have a large number of speleothems, stalactites, and stalagmites. It is formed in a marble unit known as the Calaveras Formation. It also contains a large display of aragonite frostwork. [3] The standard tour of the cave descends 160 feet, 208 steps down and 232 up in a traverse between the natural and an artificial entrance. The cave was mapped in 1986 to a length of 3389 feet and a total depth of 192 feet. The map can be viewed on the cave's web site.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fife The Endless Adventure in the California Outback (2009), p. 191
  2. ^ Mercer Caverns (Near Murphys, on Sheep Ranch Road, Calaveras County) Discovered by a gold prospector in 1885, who found no gold but did find human bones (four adults,one child, and one infant). — Mary Hill, in Geology of the Sierra Nevada: Revised Edition (2006), p. 159
  3. ^ Rogers, Bruce; Legge, Charmaine (May–June 1995). "Mercer Caverns-History, exploration, and geology of a gold country classic". California Geology. 48 (3): 12–19.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°09′05″N 120°28′42″W / 38.15139°N 120.47833°W / 38.15139; -120.47833