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Climax Caverns

Climax Caverns is one of the largest caves in the South and the largest known "dry" cave (above water) in the entire Coastal Plains of the United States. Spelunkers from caving clubs in Atlanta and the University of Florida in Gainesville have mapped several miles of the cave.

Location: Climax Caverns is located about two miles northwest of the small village of Climax in east central Decatur County, Georgia in deep Southwest Georgia on the Florida border. The site is about 225 miles south of Atlanta, Georgia and about 42 miles north of Tallahassee, Florida. The cave is named for the nearby village of Climax. The village was named thus because the site was the temporary terminus or end of the track when the railroad was being built from Savannah, Georgia to the Alabama border during the 1800's.

History: Climax Caverns has been known as an attraction for daring spelunkers for more than 150 years. Only the outer-most rooms nearest the cavern entrance have been visited by most spelunkers however. Many of the novice cavers who have ventured beyond the front area have become lost in the vast maze of the huge cavern. Some have had to be rescued, especially the ill-prepared who went into the cave without sufficient lights.

The tract around the cavern contains about 210 acres; the area immediately around the cave has remained predominantly forested. The section north of the cave site was used for pasturage during the 1960's and had been cleared of much of the old growth trees.

The cave is located at the very edge of Curry Hill which is part of the "Pelham Solution Escarpment" or the rim of the Flint River valley. The valley itself is totally flat land from the river up to the rim of the escarpment. The rim looks like a hill when approaching it but isn't -- it is merely a sharp change of elevation from the valley to the top of the Dougherty Plain.

Geology: The cave is located on what is known as the "Pelham solution escarpment", the edge of the valley of Flint River. It is one of the youngest land regions of the southeastern United States -- only a few million years old. The limestone formation the cave is located in was formed from fossilized sea life and sand and muck of the ocean floor. The rocks of the cave contain thousands of tiny fossils. It has been dated at the meeting of the Oligocene and Miocene epochs, or about 7 million to 16 million years old. That makes it some of the "youngest" land mass in the United States and as a result, the limestone is much softer and far more porous than any areas outside the Coastal Plains.

The limestone rock is a conglomerate, or combination of sand, muck and both plant and animal life, formed at the bottom of ancient oceans. Over the eons, millions of sea creatures ranging from the miniscule to larger animals died and sank into the muck on the ocean floor. The muck helped preserve their bodies or skeletons, forming fossilized remains. Climax Caverns is full of these fossils--a geologist's delight!

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