The Virginia’s caverns are found in the Shenandoah Valley which sits on a limestone base. Limestone is a very soft rock. It dissolves when it gets into contact with rain water. This is because rain water is acidic and limestone is a carbonate compound.
The Shenandoah Valley has an impressive collection of caves that go for up to 150 miles. Over millions of years, the seeping rain water has turned Luray Caverns into the largest cavern system in Eastern America measured by the airspace within the earth.
The caves are vast and the Luray’s keepers insist on preserving them in their natural state to maintain US National Natural Landmark status.
The naturally colored stalagmites and stalactites range from orange-brown to grey to pure white looking very spectacular.
The rain water travelling through the soil picks up minerals which ultimately color the calcite, creating the multi-colored stalagmites and stalactites.
Back in the 50’s, even before Shenandoah Valley was designated a landmark, a Pentagon engineer designed the Great StalacPipe Organ which utilizes huge stalactites as musical keys to form the largest musical instrument in the world.
The deepest caverns in the region are found at Natural Bridge. These go down to 34 stories. So don’t visit here if you get claustrophobic underground, instead you can visit Dixie Caverns. They are in the side of the mountain so you have to walk up to get in and under.
Another cavern worth visiting is the Shenandoah. It is one of the smaller commercial caverns know for the many spackling-effect crystallized calcite formations. But don’t get confused Shenandoah carven is not it Shenandoah National Park.
Another place worth visiting is Skyline which is known for its Anthrodites also called cave flowers or mineral orchids. It has more of these formations than any other cave in the region. It is an ideal place to hold your wedding.