America’s “Lost Sea” Underground Is So Big It’s Never Been Fully Explored

3 mins read

America’s “Lost Sea,” the largest non-subglacial underground lake in the US and conceivably the second largest in the world, is located deep beneath a modest region of Tennessee. This enormous underground body of water, which may be found at Craighead Caverns, is so massive that its exact size is unknown.

It is situated between Sweetwater and Madisonville in the Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains. The cavern is well-known for its assortment of crystals, stalagmites, and stalactites that adorn its limestone walls in addition to the large amount of water it can retain.

The National Park Service recognizes the cave system as a National Natural Landmark because of its lengthy history.

There is proof that the cave was formerly patrolled by ferocious Pleistocene jaguars, albeit quite lost at the time. It was utilized as a shelter by the Cherokee for many centuries afterward, as evidenced by the numerous Native American items that have been found here, including pottery, arrowheads, weapons, and jewelry.

Early European colonists stored potatoes here in more recent ages. and later, Confederate forces extracted saltpeter from the cave to produce gunpowder. During the Prohibition Era, moonshiners are reportedly said to have concealed their illicit booze supplies in the cave.

However, the “lost lake” was really found in 1905 when a young child playing in the cave came onto the water.

Ben Sands found the lake, according to tour guide Savannah Dalton, who spoke to CBS News in 2019. “A 13-year-old boy had to crawl 40 feet through a tunnel the size of a bicycle tire before he could descend into the lake and wade out into water that was only knee-deep. As soon as he entered, it significantly shrunk. But since then, we’ve blown it out.”

Nobody is entirely certain of this thing’s size. The lake’s apparent area measures 243 meters (800 feet) long by 67 meters (220 feet), but beneath the surface, it connects to a network of enormous watery halls, many of which have not yet been fully explored.

Despite the fact that explorers have not yet located the lake’s end, more than 13 acres (5.2 hectares) of water have so far been documented. With only the sound of water surrounding them, a diver using a sonar equipment had to turn around as they swam into the lake’s pitch-black caves.

Who is to say whether the Dragon’s Breath Cave in Namibia, which holds the record for largest non-subglacial underground lake, actually holds the Lost Sea, which is reportedly the second-largest such lake?

Ali Esen

Istanbul University, Department of Mathematics. Interested in science and technology.


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