Article: America's most Spectacular Underground Water Symphony Adventure
Word Count: 1,240 words
Glimpse millions of years in one moment as you gaze at dazzling cave formations and underground waterfalls. The same caverns discovered by Squire and Daniel Boone two centuries ago now accessible via lighted walkways. Guided tours let you observe earth's secrets deep below the surface. Learn how these amazing passageways were slowly formed over eons of time, even as dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Squire Boone cave is a river cave, the river leaves the cave at its entrance and is used to run the Grist Mill, that Squire Boone built, which is still working and a part of the visit. This spring has an average production of 44 liters per second.
The one hour tour includes a 73- step spiral staircase, so it requires a certain physical fitness. You'll agree when you encounter roaring streams and the waterfalls that set the Squire Boone Caverns apart from any other cave you have ever visited.
From the moment you step inside the entrance you'll hear the caves 90 feet below the earth's surface. This is a site know as "The Fountains of the Deep." A powerful surging, waterfall tumbling over dazzling formations. Rushing rivers and waterfalls
rarely seen in caves carry over a million gallons of water through Squire Boone Caverns every day.
The water courses over three more shining waterfalls before flowing out of the cave at the spot Squire Boone selected for a Grist Mill. The Old mill, which he built from 1804 to 1809, has been restored. The 18 foot wheel again turns and powers the stones to grind corn meal. Exactly as Squire himself did it over two centuries ago. You can watch as the 18 foot wheel, powered by water flowing from the caverns, turns 1,000 pound grinding stones.The miller also demonstrates how cornmeal and grits are sifted out of the ground corn.
The mill is the focal point of Squire Boone Village. However, the village includes craft shops where you can watch candles being dipped and old time soap being made in a huge kettle. These items are sold at the shops and more than 2,000 gift shops throughout the United States.
A farm animal petting zoo and playgrounds delight the children. Picnic groves, natural trails,the village restaurant, village bakery featuring homemade bread and pies are all available for your enjoyment.
During the tour of the caverns, you'll pause at the grave of Squire Boone to hear the story of his colorful Indian fighter, explorer, adventurer gunsmith, minister, philosopher and spelunker He rests, just as he wished, deep within his beloved cave.
Another highlight of the tour are the various spelothems. There are twisted helicitie formations and rimstone dams, which are both rather rare. Explore a living and growing ecosystem deep below the earth's surface. Stalactites, Stalagmites Flowstones, and more adorn the cavern walls, ceilings and floors. Come see what has taken nature millions of years to make, but be sure not to touch any of it for the oils on your hands will kill it.
The terms cave and caverns are not always precisely used. A cave is a natural underground cavity. A cavern is a connected system of caves and passages. Caves and caverns are often found in the sides of cliffs and hills.
Speleology: One of the newest of the sciences is the study of caves. One who studies Speleology is known as a Speleologist (From the Greek words "Spelaion," meaning cave and "Logos," meaning study.) A person who explores caves or caverns is known as a Spelunker. Spelunking is the art of exploring a cave or cavern.
Solutional Caves: Are found in rocks which can be dissolved by a weak natural acid, carbon acid. This acid is formed when rain water mixes with carbon dioxide in the upper layers of the soil. Squire Boone Caverns is a Solutional cave.
Soda straw Stalactites: Are thin- walled, hollow tubes about a quarter inch in diameter.They form as water runs through their centers and deposit rings of Calcite around the tips of the formations.
Stalactites: Grow down from the ceiling and form as mineral layers are deposited by water flowing over the outside of the soda straws. They form after the centers of the hollow sodas straws become plugged.
Stalagmites: Grow up from the floor where mineral laden water drips from above. Stalagmetes are often, but not always found beneath Stalactites They have flat or rounded tops as compared to the carrot shaped Stalactites.
Columns: Are formed when Stalactites and Stalagmites grow together or when one of them grows all the way to the floor or ceiling.
Cave Coral or Popcorn: Is irregular clusters or rough knobs of Crystalline Calcium Carbonate. They build up on walls and existing formations as mineral-laden water seeps through the pores of the rocks.
Draperies: Form where drops of mineral-laden water trickle down the undersides of inclined ceilings, leaving deposits in lines which fold and curl as if they were drapes or curtains.
Flowstone: Forms where films of water flow over walls, floors and formations,depositing sheets of calcium carbonate like icing.
This is only a small sampling of all the great things there are to learn about caves. Check out your local library or the National Caves Association website for more information. Grist Mill built by Squire Boone in the early 1800's, the mill has been restored and is again grinding grain just as it did nearly two centuries ago.
Cornmeal can be purchased at the Grist Mill. Squire Boone's Mill is listed on the Indiana State Register of Historic Sites and Structures. The Grist Mill is open 10:00 to 5:00 everyday from Memorial Day Weekend to mid August and weekends through Labor day. The Grist Mill is also included, in the school field trip package in the spring and fall. Onto the foundation stones of his mill, Squire Boone carvers this inscription:
"My God my life hath much befriended, I'll praise Him till my days are ended." These stones are now on display inside the mill.
Grist Mill Facts:
Grist Mills were very important because corn was the major crop for the pioneers. To be useful for baking, corn had to be ground into flour. The earliest method for grinding corn was to pound the corn in a large mortar and pestle. This was very hard, manual labor, so people looked for an easier way and thus grist mills were built wherever possible.
There are three major parts to a grist mill: The Raceway, wheel and grinding stones. The Raceway channels the flowing water to the wheel. The water forces the wheel to turn. The Turning Wheel, powers the grinding stones by a series of shafts and gears. The grinding action of the stones breaks the grain into small, usable pieces like flour, cornmeal and grits.
Treat the family to a day On the Frontier. You'll fall in love with the Squire Boone Caverns just as Squire did.
Cave Tours: Summer months: Memorial day thru Labor day the caverns can be toured daily.
The guided 1 hour-tours leave every 30 minutes 9:00-5:00 EDT.
Spring-Fall months: Cavern tours depart at 10:00, 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00 EDT seven days a week.
During heavy rains please call ahead.
January-February: Caverns tours depart on Saturday and Sunday only at 10:00, 12:00, 2:00 and
4:00 EDT. During bad weather please call ahead. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve,
Christmas Day and New Years Day.
Admission: Is $11.00 per Adult, $6.50 per Child (6-11) and $10.00 per Senior.
*The caves stay a pleasant 54 degrees year around. A light jacket or sweater is recommended.*