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last updated: 2/7/2012

Geosciences Library Quick Guide to Indiana Caves



Resources Available Online

Selected Bibliography of Materials Available at IUB

Ways to Find More Information




Indiana Caves are a topic of interest to numerous individuals, from researchers interested in these mysterious formations as a part of Southern Indiana’s unique Karst topography, to amateur and experienced spelunkers seeking out information on specific caves in the region.  However, information on caves is difficult to locate because of concerns by state and federal governments about human safety within caves and cave vandalism.  This guide has been created to help steer those interested in Indiana Caves towards resources available publicly and within the IU Libraries collections.  Items in the selected bibliography cover a wide range of information on caves in Indiana, including the origins, geologic characteristics, structures, flora, and fauna of Indiana Caves, along with information concerning conservation and safety while exploring caves.  Brief annotations and library locations for publications are provided wherever possible.



Resources Available Online

Addington, A.R. (1926).  A preliminary report upon the survey of Indiana caves with special reference to Marengo Cave: Indiana. Indiana Year Book for 1926. Indianapolis, Ind: Division of Accounting and Statistics. The Year Book has reports of the Division of Forestry, the Division of State Parks and Lands and Water, and the Division of Engineering.  This item contains survey information for several of the better known Indiana caves with additional details on Marengo Cave.
Online at
Also at Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (Wells Library), JK5631 .I6

Chiacchia, K. (2010, August 11). Is it OK to Cave? Retrieved from The Allegheny Front: Environmental Radio for Western Pennsylvania.
This video or transcript discusses some of the risks and benefits to caving, while also offering the advice that "When you have the time to think it through, you have to be willing to take that time, reassess, and maybe change what you're doing."

Online at


Cope, E.D. (1872). Report on the Wyandotte Cave and its fauna. Annual Reports 3 and 4. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Geological Survey.
This report briefly describes the structures and history of the cave, and examines the variety of life that exists within the cave system.

Online at
Also in print at the Geosciences Library, QE109 .A2 21st 1897

Farrington, O.C. (1901). Observations on Indiana Caves. Fieldiana Geology, v. 1, no. 1. Chicago, Ill.: Field Columbian Museum.
This book descrives the layout and structures of Wyandotte Cave, Marengo Cave, Shiloh Cave, and Coan's Cave in great detail, and includes photographs and measurement data.
Online at

Indiana Geological Survey (1998).  Our Hoosier state beneath us.  Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Geological Survey.  This is a set of single pages on various geologic and environmental topics.  It covers karst formations and several of the better known caves in Indiana (illustrated). 

Online at

Indiana Natural Resources Commission. (1983). Offenses against property. Article 43. Indianapolis, Ind. Indiana Natural Resources Commission. (IC 35-43-1-3)
This Indiana Criminal Statute was enacted to protect caves and cave-dwelling animals from damage and injury.  It is also known as the
"Indiana State Cave Law".  It provides a definition for “cave” and describes Class-A misdemeanor offenses such as the removal or destruction of artifacts and formations, littering, or harming cave-dwelling animals.

Online at IC35-43-1-1

Indiana Natural Resources Commission. (1998). Public use of natural and recreational areas. Article 8. Indianapolis, Ind. Indiana Natural Resources Commission. (312 IAC 8-2-10)
This code prohibits the “destruction, removal of material, mutilation, or defacing of any cave resource on a DNR property” and states that “other standards within 312 IAC 8, which protects state parks, forests, nature preserves and similar properties from harmful activities, also apply to caves”.

Online at

Indiana Natural Resources Commission. (1999). Caves and karst resource management on properties owned or leased by the Department of Natural Resources. Information Bulletin #25. Indianapolis, Ind. Indiana Natural Resources Commission.
The purpose of the bulletin is to provide a uniform policy for the management of caves and karst resources located on Department of Natural Resources properties.  Topics covered include resource identification and protection, research, recreational use, and safety and rescue.
Online at


Jones, C. (2003). Responsible Caving. Bloomington, Ind.: National Speleological Society.
This guide covers the characteristics, structures and life found in caves while promoting conservation, landowner relations and courtesy.  The guide includes sections on threats to caves, how to dress, and how to safely explore caves.  Recommendations on trails and additional readings are provided.

Online at

McGowan, D. (2007). Caves: life beneath the forest [DVD]. Chicago: Ravenswood Media.
This video was produced with help from Hoosier National Forest and Indiana Karst Conservancy.  It shows the variety of life in the caves in Hoosier National Forest, which is located in a karst region of southern Indiana.  The video looks at bats, bacteria, pseudo-scorpions, troglobites, such as blind cave fish, and other inhabitants of these cave and examines how creatures adapted to live in dark cave environments. It features commentary by a number of cave biologists.

Stream online at
Also on DVD at Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (Wells Library): A 13.2:C 34/1x



Selected Bibliography of Materials Available at IUB

Note: Most items can be delivered to any IU Library using IUCAT.  Simply search for the item title and click the “Request Delivery” link on the right column of the item record.  However, some items must be used within their owning libraries due to fragility, rarity, or other constraints.  Please feel free to visit the Geosciences Library or other owning libraries to use these items.

Blatchley, W.S. (1897). Indiana caves and their fauna.  Annual Report 21. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Department of Geology and Natural History. The volume contains this part, which details the fauna commonly found in Indiana caves.  Other sections of the report cover many of the better known Indiana caves, their origins, geology and fauna as well.  Maps and geologic illustrations are also included. Location:  Geosciences Library, QE109 .A2 21st 1897

Cave Information Service. (1973). The Spelunker's guide to the caves north of Campbellsburg, Indiana. Bloomington, Ind.: Cave Information Service. This item covers the geology and the how and where of cave formation in the Campbellsburg area.  It also contains fauna information and detailed descriptions of many caves in the area.  Extremely detailed topographic and cave maps, photographs of the area’s caves, and a short bibliography with recommendations for researchers and cavers are included.
Location: Geosciences Library, GB605.I6 S67

Frushour, S. S. (Artist). (1999). Features of Indiana Caves [poster]. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Geological Survey.

This color and black-and-white poster has brief descriptions and photos of many cave structures and processes.

Location:  Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (Wells Library), GB605.I6 F78 1999


George, A.I. (1991). Bibliography of Wyandotte Cave. Louisville, Ky.: George Pub. Co. A thorough bibliography of items related mainly to Wyandotte Cave, published both privately and by governmental agencies.  Items pertaining to Indiana caves are occasionally included, as are citations to news articles, maps and images.
Location: Geosciences Library, GB606.W92 G463 1991


Hasenmueller, N.R. & Powell, R.L. (2005).  Karst: a distinctive type of landscape or topography [picture].  Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Geological Survey.  This full-color poster provides a brief description of the process by which sinkholes form in the Indiana landscape, creating caves and other topographic features.
Location: Geosciences Library, GB600.3.I6 K377 2005 (Ask Staff)

Indiana Department of Forestry. (1978). The Wyandotte Caves story. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Division of Forestry.
This book is a short history of the ethnographic history of the Wyandotte Cave system from prehistory through the present day.
Location: Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (Wells Library), GB606 .W974 1978

Indiana Division of Geology. (1939). Guide to Indiana caverns. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Division of Geology. This guide contains brief entries of the locations, names, and general features of the better-known caverns in southern Indiana organized by county.
Location: Geosciences Library, GB605.I6 I3B

Indiana University Spelunking Club. (1970-1974). Speleo Tymes. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Spelunking Club. This book is a compilation of newsletters of the IU Spelunking Club, sponsored by the IU Department of Geology.  The newsletters include maps and surveys of Indiana caves, as well as cross-sections of geologic formations.  Also included is information on how to locate caves, transcripts of discussions, and descriptions of cave explorations.
Location: Auxiliary Library Facility [ALF], GB605.I6 S74 v.1-5 1970-1974

Love, D.L. (1972). The spelunker's guide to the caves of the Garrison Chapel Valley. Bloomington, Ind.: Cave Information Service. The guide contains information on cave conservation, detailed cave and topographic maps of the area, and describes the discovery, mapping, structure and layout of the larger cave systems in the Garrison Chapel Valley caves.  Brief descriptions of other caves in the area are also provided.
Location: Geosciences Library, GB605.I6 L68 1979

Malott, C.A. (1946). The geology of Spring Mill State Park. Outdoor Indiana, v. 13, no. 6: Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources.
This article details the geology of the area around Spring Mill State Park, including the caverns and karst features in the area.
Location: Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (Wells Library), HC104 .I6 O9

Munson, P.J. (1990). The prehistoric and early historic archaeology of Wyandotte Cave and other caves in southern Indiana. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Historical Society.
This book goes into great detail to describe, photograph and map caves.  Photographs of archeological finds and cave structures, geologic sections, and data are included, as are maps of access points and sketches of cave layouts.
Location: Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (Wells Library), F532.C8 M86 1990

National Speleological Society. (1970-1974). Bloomington Grotto Newsletter. Bloomington, Ind.: The Grotto. The newsletter provides locations, descriptions, maps, and scientific data on southern Indiana caves.  It describes caving expeditions and flora and fauna of the cave systems, and also presents results of geologic research.  Several bibliographies on specific topics related to caves and caverns are included as are topographic maps and geologic cross-sections.  Further information is available on the NSS website at
Location: Geosciences Library, GB601.A1 N27 (Also at the Auxiliary Library Facility [ALF])

Powell, R.L. (1961). Caves of Indiana. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Department of Conservation. This book contains detailed information about geologic features of Indiana, how and where caves form, the specific origins of Indiana caverns, and lists and descriptions of the better known caves in 11 counties in southern Indiana.  It includes illustrations, maps, photographs, and a selected bibliography, which serves as an excellent guide for researchers.
Location: Geosciences Library, QE109 .A16 no.8 (Geology Special Collections—Ask Staff)

Powell, R.L. (1961). Map of south-central Indiana showing caverns in Middle and Upper Mississippian limestones.  Bloomington, Ind.:  State of Indiana, Department of Conservation, Geological Survey. The map includes an indexed list of caves, sectionalized township and location map.
Location: Geosciences Library, G4091.C23 1961 .P69

Powell, R.L. (1970). A guide to the selection of limestone caverns and springs of the United States as national landmarks: for the National Park Service. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Geological Survey. This item was published mainly as a literature survey, compiled from local, state and national journals, reports and books.  Information and data were provided by the National Spelological Society, the National Park Service, and the Indiana Geological Survey.  The book covers the origins of limestone caverns, their features, locations of caves and springs throughout the United States (useful for comparisons) and state parks that contain caves.  Black-and-white maps are included for each area. 
Location: Geosciences Library, GB604 .P68 (Also at Government Information, Maps and Microform Services)

Powell, R.L. (2002). Areas of sinkholes and sinking-stream basins with locations of cave openings and springs in Central Southern Indiana [cartographic material]. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Geological Survey. This map is in full color, compiled from data in 1997.
Location: Geosciences Library, G4091.C28 1997 .P69 (Also available at Government Information, Maps and Microform Services)

Reasoner, J.P. (1884).  University Cave, Greencastle, Putnam County, Indiana. Annual Report 14.  Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Department of Geology and Natural History. This report contains a brief geological overview of the cave and a detailed description of the layout and several features within the formation.
Location: Geosciences Library, QE109 .A2 14th 1884



Ways to Find More Information

To find more information, consult the following databases:


Or, you may visit these websites:

·         USGS Caves:

·         Indiana Geological Survey:

·         Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

·         Indiana Academy of Science:

·         National Speleological Society:



This website/quick guide was based on a pathfinder by Megan Utley as a class requirement for S525: Government Information at the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University.  It was edited and updated in 2009 by Jessica Cornn for this website. Last update: April 28, 2011

last updated: 2/7/2012