Sample Mammoth Cave (Grades 6-8) Worksheet
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By Tammy Scarbrough
1 Somewhere in Kentucky lies a vast underground set of tunnels and caverns called Mammoth Cave. We know that back in the early nineteenth century, in 1809, the opening was found by a man who was tracking a bear. When he entered the cave opening, he realized that this wasn't just a little bear hide-out. It was a large, deep cave.
2 Evidence has been found that early Native Americans visited these caves. They went as far as two miles into the cave. That's pretty good for someone without a battery-powered flashlight. They left articles of clothing behind as well as some human remains that were mummified by the conditions of the caves.
3 These caves are rich in minerals, especially one called "salt peter." Salt Peter is a substance that is used in making gunpowder. When the War of 1812 started, the British Navy blocked the eastern coast, shutting off the supply of gunpowder. Mining for salt peter then began in Mammoth Cave to help supply the soldiers with gunpowder. As many as seventy slaves mined the salt peter, providing over half of the gunpowder needed to fight the war.
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