Ruby Falls is an underground waterfall. Tennessee. USA

Life in America. USA. Nashville, Tennessee.

In the U.S. state of Tennessee, near the town of Chattanooga, there are many karst caves. In the depths of one of them, travelers have the opportunity to admire the splendor and power of a unique waterfall.

The highest and deepest waterfall in the United States is about 341 meters below ground level, in the heart of Lookout Mountain. The waterfall is located at the end of the main passageway of Ruby Falls Cave in a large vertical shaft, which was washed out of lime rock due to salt water millions of years ago.

The geological history of this unique complex goes back to prehistoric times, when, about two hundred and forty million years ago, the area of East Tennessee was covered by a shallow sea, from which the limestone rocks remained.

Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall, rises from a height of about 50 meters. The stream of water bursts into the cave through a hole in the top of the dome with a regular conical shape. The walls of the dome, tapering upward, are dissected by cracks into several tiers. Over millions of years a round lake of crystal-clear water has formed in the place where the water stream fell. The air temperature in the cave never changes and stays at the level of 10 degrees.

The local caves have long been a safe haven for the Indians. Dashing white settlers later took refuge here.

Ruby Falls Cave had no natural openings and could not be entered until the 20th century. In 1905, the natural entrance to Mount Lucaut-Mountain Cave had to be closed for the construction of the railroad tunnel. Leo Lambert, a local cave explorer who knew of the nearby Mount Lucaut-Mountain Cave, decided to open it to the public and founded a company to do so.

Shortly after drilling began in the fall of 1928, while in the cave, Leo Lambert felt a movement of cold air. He made his way through narrow, winding mazes (where one could only crawl) and discovered a waterfall. In all, the journey took 17 hours!

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Electricity was brought into the cave in the 1930s and electric lights were installed, making Lukaut Mountain Cave one of the first caves in the world to be electrified. Later, elevators were installed to make it easy and convenient for hundreds of thousands of tourists to reach the cave each year.

This and much more are told by cheerful guides. And the adventure begins with another line. Such a huge, I’ve never seen))). Well, we were not scared – it moved quickly.

At this time, the children were standing on their heads in their smart and casual attire. No one scolded them. So they went shaggy and purty into the clean and bright hallway of the building. The mothers saved their nerves. So did the kids. Everyone is happy. I liked it :)

Inside, you are grouped together and taken downstairs one by one in an elevator. A jokester-guide meets everyone there and finds out where they’re coming from. Then he tells them what’s going to happen. What to do when there’s oncoming traffic and what we’re all called. Along the way he tells stories, shows interesting cave wonders, and jokes a lot. All in all, it takes an hour and a half or two to make the trip. With a good guide and fun tourists, the time flies quickly :) Groups consist of about 20 people. Babies are also involved and behave themselves. Preparations. The guide warned not to look out and not to fall behind, as the rocks here are villainous. Here it’s gone, and here it is right away. In the head will hit, no one will find you :D

We are going along a difficult path, the path is not straight.

The guide is talking. Before that we had watched a short introduction on the TV screen and he clapped happily. He said again, what a wonderful story! Bravo! :)))

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The same wife Ruby liked to walk in the cave and kept a diary of where the formations were and what they looked like. Let’s go in and take a look. Literally, “You enter the beautiful hall of dreams.”

Tobacco leaves. The guide advised not even to try to smoke them, as everyone who does turns to stone ;)

Steak potatoes. Mmm! It’s almost on the way out such a joy. Makes me really want to eat dinner. And the sooner the better.

In the middle of the trip we reached an amazing waterfall. With a performance and appropriate atmosphere. Of course, better to see once than hear a hundred times.

By the way, I saw on the internet that there is even a signing. That’s how much time and effort it takes to get married :)

On the way back, we learned that at first, when the elevators were first installed and they were not so modern (30’s), there was a collapse and people spent the night in the cave until morning. After that, they were given certificates for a lifetime of free visits to the cave. How many people used them? None! :)

After the tour we went up to the observation deck. By the way, there is also a rope town and a picturesque waterfall with a bridge on the rocks. But for that you need a separate day.

My travels. Tennessee. Part 1. Ruby Falls Underground Falls.

Ruby Falls is the highest and deepest underground waterfall in America open to the public.

It is about 341 meters below ground level, in the heart of Lookout Mountain.

There is an observation deck on this tower from which you can view the surrounding area.

View from the observation deck

In 1928 Leo Lambert and his team explored the caves of Lookout Mountain. While exploring it they found a number of unusual rock formations, passages, and several river channels. Going deeper and deeper into the cave, moving literally on all fours, they finally reached its main jewel – the underground waterfall.

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Lambert named this waterfall after his wife, Ruby.

The cave has electric lights, making it one of the first caves in the world to be electrified. Elevators were also built here to give tourists easy access to the caves.

By the way, the electricity here is generated by their own, using solar panels.

We took the elevator down into the cave and began our journey.

There are many interesting stalactites and stalagmites on the way to the waterfall itself. Some of them look very much like objects, plants or animals, so they were named accordingly. A sign with this name hangs next to each such formation.

Donkey (when viewed from behind)

Steak and potatoes

The cave next to the waterfall is illuminated. The unprepared visitor does not expect a surprise. At first, he does not see anything at all, it is all darkness. Only the sound of water can be heard. Suddenly, spotlights burst out and illuminate this powerful stream of water with multicolored lights. At that very moment, the music starts playing. It is an amazing sight!

The waterfall rushes down from a height of 44 meters where the water collects in a pool and flows in small underground rivers to the Tennessee River. The water velocity in the waterfall is 1200 liters per minute. Interestingly, throughout the year the temperature in the cave is about the same – 10 degrees Celsius.

Presumably the age of the underground waterfall is about 30 million years.

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