Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

This karst landscape in the state of New Mexico comprises over 80 recognized caves. They are outstanding not only for their size but also for the profusion, diversity and beauty of their mineral formations. Lechuguilla Cave stands out from the others, providing an underground laboratory where geological and biological processes can be studied in a pristine setting.

Parc national des grottes de Carlsbad

Situé dans l'État du Nouveau-Mexique, ce paysage karstique comprend plus de 80 grottes connues, remarquables par leurs dimensions et l'abondance, la diversité et la beauté de leurs formations minérales. La grotte de Lechuguilla se distingue des autres et offre un véritable laboratoire souterrain où l'on peut étudier les processus géologiques et biologiques dans un environnement inviolé.

منتزه كهوف كارلسباد الوطني

يقع هذا المنظر الصلصالي في ولاية مكسيكو الجديدة وهو يضمّ أكثر من 80 كهفاً مشهوراً يمتاز بحجمه ووفرته وتنوّع تكوّناته المعدنيّة وجمالها. ويتميّز كهف ليشيغويلا عن سواه حيث يُشكّل مختبراً لعالم ما تحت الأرض حيث يُمكن دراسة العمليّات الجيولوجيّة والبيولوجيّة في بيئةٍ بكر.

source: UNESCO/ERI



source: UNESCO/ERI

Национальный парк Карлсбадские пещеры

Этот карстовый ландшафт в штате Нью-Мексико включает свыше 80 пещер, открытых к настоящему времени. Они знамениты не только своими размерами, но и обилием, многообразием и красотой натечных образований. Среди прочих выделяется пещера Лекугилла, которая выступает в роли подземной научной лаборатории, где можно исследовать различные геологические и биологические процессы.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Parque Nacional de las Cuevas de Carlsbad

En este parque de paisaje cárstico situado en el Estado de Nuevo México, se han descubierto hasta hoy 81 grutas excepcionales por sus dimensiones y por la abundancia, diversidad y belleza de sus formaciones minerales. Destaca la gruta de Lechuguilla, auténtico laboratorio subterráneo en el que se pueden estudiar los procesos geológicos y biológicos en un medio prácticamente intacto.

source: UNESCO/ERI


source: NFUAJ

Nationaal park Carlsbad Caverns

Dit karstlandschap in de staat New Mexico bestaat uit meer dan 80 erkende grotten. Ze zijn opvallend, niet alleen vanwege hun grootte, maar ook vanwege de overvloed, diversiteit en schoonheid van hun minerale formaties. Het Nationaal park beslaat een gedeelte van het uit het Perm-tijdperk stammende Capitan rifcomplex. In dit gebied werden de twee belangrijkste grotten van het nationaal park gevormd: Carlsbad Caverns en Lechuguilla Cave. Ze staan bekend om hun overvloedige, diverse en prachtige decoratieve rotsformaties. De Lechuguilla-rots onderscheidt zich van de andere grotten met een ondergronds laboratorium waarin geologische en biologische processen vrijwel ongestoord kunnen worden bestudeerd.


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Carlsbad Caverns National Park © Evergreen
Statement of Significance

The more than 100 limestone caves within Carlsbad Caverns National Park are outstanding and notable world-wide because of their size, mode of origin, and the abundance, diversity and beauty of the speleothems (decorative rock formations) within. On-going geologic processes continue to form rare and unique speleothems, particularly in Lechuguilla Cave. Carlsbad Caverns and Lechuguilla Cave are well known for their great natural beauty, exceptional geologic features, and unique reef and rock formations. The Permian-aged Capitan Reef complex (in which Carlsbad Caverns, Lechuguilla and other caves formed) is one of the best preserved and most accessible complexes available for scientific study in the world.

Criterion (vii): The park’s primary caves, Carlsbad and Lechuguilla, are well known for the abundance, diversity, and beauty of their decorative rock formations. Lechuguilla Cave exhibits rare and unique speleothems, including a great abundance of large calcite and gypsum formations, including the largest accumulation of gypsum “chandeliers,” some of which extend more than six meters (18 feet) in length.

Criterion (viii): Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of the few places in the world where on-going geologic processes are most apparent and rare speleothems continue to form, enabling scientists to study geological processes in a virtually undisturbed environment. These speleothems include helictites forming underwater, calcite and gypsum speleothems, and an astonishing collection of “biothems,” cave formations assisted in their formation by bacteria. Researchers can study both the Capitan reef’s inside through cave passages that penetrate in and through it as well as eroded canyon-exposed cross sections outside.

Long Description

The park covers a segment of the Permian fossil Capitan Reef.

An extensive cave system has developed within the reef as a result of sulphuric acid dissolution and of the 81 known caves, Carlsbad Cavern is the largest and Lechuguilla Cave is the most extensive and decorated cave in the world.

The Capitan Reef complex dates back to the Permian period, some 280-225 million years ago. The exposed sections of this reef lying within the park are among the best preserved in the world accessible for scientific study. Geologists are able to study the rock formations not only through cave passages which penetrate the reef but also in exposures uncovered through erosion. Fossils include bryozoans, pelecypods, gastropods, echinoderms, brachiopods, fusulinds, sponges, trilobites and algae. Above-ground vegetation communities range from desert to coniferous forest. Some 800 plant species have been identified, of which three are internationally threatened: Sneed pincushion cactus, Lee pincushion cactus and Lloyd's hedgehog cactus. The fauna inventory includes 64 mammals, 331 bird and 44 herpetofauna species.

The caves are noted for their migratory bat species, especially the Mexican free-tailed bat. Various species of fungi and bacteria growing in the caves are of particular scientific and medical interest.

Disturbances within the park include permanent damage incurred to speleothems and the cave ecosystem from tourism, decline in bat populations from the use of DDT as well as attempts to eradicate them in Mexico, oil and gas exploration, grazing by trespassing livestock, invasion by exotic fauna and the hunting of puma.

Carlsbad is radically different from the other existing World Heritage caves: Carlsbad Caverns National Park is distinguished by its huge chambers which are far larger than similar other as well as for its decorative mineral.

Since its initial exploration in 1985, Lechuguilla Cave has been strictly managed, allowing only closely monitored visits by researchers. This cave is particularly noteworthy as an underground laboratory where geological processes can be studied in a virtually undisturbed environment. The only threat that faces the park is oil and gas exploration near its borders.