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Crystal Cave, Spring Valley

4.6
#9 of 114 in Nature in Wisconsin
Crystal Cave is a cave located in Wisconsin’s Pierce County, near the Town of Spring Valley on Highway 29. The cave was discovered in 1881 by local brothers George and William Vanasse. Crystal Cave is a multi-level solutional cave formed in dolomite bedrock in the Prairie du Chien group. The dolomite was formed 485 million years ago during the Lower Ordovician Period when a warm shallow ocean covered much of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It s Wisconsin’s longest known cave.
Crystal Cave is a multi-level maze type of solutional cave consisting of three levels. It extends to a depth of 69 ft. (21 m.) and is 4600 ft. (1.4 km.) in length, contained completely in the Prairie du Chen group. The bedrock forming the cave walls formed during the Ordovician Period. The third level is the most extensive of the three, having developed along existing Northeast to Southwest trending joints in the bedrock. Dating the period the cave began to form has proven difficult because of erosion by glacial waters and the deposit of debris during the Wisconsin Glaciation from the nearby terminus of the Laurentide Ice Sheet's Superior lobe. The commonly accepted theory of the cave's formation is that it was formed by a weak carbonic acid solution formed from rainwater and snowmelt that mixed with biogenic carbon dioxide found in the topsoil, which then infiltrated existing joints and fractures in the bedrock, expanding them into the openings that make up the cave’s passageways. Some have advanced that the cave's formation is actually hypogenic in origin.
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Crystal Cave Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
269 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • At crystal cave the tour guides knew as much about the history of the cave as they did about spelunking/cave exploring! There gift shop had the coolest rock shop I had ever seen! Outside the cave was ...  more »
  • Interesting tour of the crystal cave and we enjoyed the cave stories too. We went on a weekday so it was fun to enjoy your time without too many people. We packed a picnic lunch for their picnic table...  more »
Google
  • We went here last summer this a truly amazing experience for all of the family. Make sure to bring your walking shoes there is so much to see. The staff are very knowledgeable and extremely friendly well worth a visit should be promoted more by the Wisconsin Tourist Department. It is a must to see try to read a little about the caves and their discovery in 1888 prior to visiting this way you will have a much better insight of what to see and understand.
  • We took our 2 year old with for father's day. We strongly recommend you bring a sweater since you go deep enough in the cave that it's cold down there even when it was 90°F outside. We also highly recommend getting at least the smallest packet to try gem panning. This was our favorite part. Although we did not utilize this trip, if you pack a lunch there is a nice picnic area outside as well.

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