Kentucky is one of the most famous karst areas in the world. What is karst? It's a landscape with sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, and springs. Much of Kentucky's beautiful scenery, particularly in the Inner Bluegrass Region, is the result of the development of karst landscape. A large amount of Kentucky's prime farmland (including its famous horse farms) is underlain by karst, and springs and wells in karst areas supply water to thousands of homes. Many of Kentucky's major cities, including Frankfort, Louisville, Lexington, Lawrenceburg, Georgetown, Winchester, Paris, Versailles, Nicholasville, Fort Knox, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Munfordville, Russellville, Hopkinsville, Princeton, Somerset, Monticello, and Mount Vernon, are in karst areas as well. The Daniel Boone National Forest, with its important recreational and timber resources, is largely underlain by karst. Kentucky's caves provide recreational opportunities and contain unique ecosystems. Mammoth Cave is the longest surveyed cave in the world, with over 350 miles of passages. Two other caves in the state are over 30 miles long, and nine Kentucky caves are among the 50 longest caves in the United States.
Information Circular 4
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Currens, James C., "Kentucky is Karst Country! What You Should Know About Sinkholes and Springs" (2002). Kentucky Geological Survey Information Circular. 4.