Lehman Caves Tours

Great Basin National Park

Overview: Found within Great Basin National Park, Lehman Caves is an excellent example of a limestone solution cavern. Its beginning can be traced back 550 to 600 million years ago when a warm shallow sea covered most of what is now Nevada and Utah. Over the next 400 million years, sea creatures lived and died, piling layers of calcium carbonate-rich sediment on the ocean floor. These sediments gradually solidified into limestone rock. Millions of years ago, these limestone layers were uplifted, exposing them to the elements. For millennia, rain and melting snow soaked through the soil and combined with carbon dioxide gas from decaying plans and animals to form a weak solution of carbonic acid. This acidic solution trickled downward through tiny cracks until it reached the water table. The limestone around these water-filled cracks slowly dissolved. These cracks grew into the rooms and passageways that make up Lehman Caves. Over time, the water table dropped, and the water drained out of these underground chambers. Seeping water continued to enter the air-filled chambers of the cave. Every water droplet carried with it a small amount of dissolved limestone. When exposed to the air of the open chamber, the carbon dioxide gas escaped from the solution. Calcite and other minerals formed deposits along the walls, ceilings and floors. These deposits created the beautiful and mysterious formations we know as speleothems. Today, these same processes of growth continue, slowly decorating the passages and rooms of the cave, adding to the fantastic examples of stalactites, columns, draperies, flowstone, helicities, and rare shield formations.

Overview: Found within Great Basin National Park, Lehman Caves is an excellent example of a limestone solution cavern. Its beginning can be traced back 550 to 600 million years ago when a warm shallow sea covered most of what is now Nevada and Utah. Over the next 400 million years, sea creatures lived and died, piling layers of calcium carbonate-rich sediment on the ocean floor. These sediments gradually solidified into limestone rock. Millions of years ago, these limestone layers were uplifted, exposing them to the elements. For millennia, rain and melting snow soaked through the soil and combined with carbon dioxide gas from decaying plans and animals to form a weak solution of carbonic acid. This acidic solution trickled downward through tiny cracks until it reached the water table. The limestone around these water-filled cracks slowly dissolved. These cracks grew into the rooms and passageways that make up Lehman Caves. Over time, the water table dropped, and the water drained out of these underground chambers. Seeping water continued to enter the air-filled chambers of the cave. Every water droplet carried with it a small amount of dissolved limestone. When exposed to the air of the open chamber, the carbon dioxide gas escaped from the solution. Calcite and other minerals formed deposits along the walls, ceilings and floors. These deposits created the beautiful and mysterious formations we know as speleothems. Today, these same processes of growth continue, slowly decorating the passages and rooms of the cave, adding to the fantastic examples of stalactites, columns, draperies, flowstone, helicities, and rare shield formations.

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Changes and Cancellations

No refunds once tour starts. See Facility Rates for fees.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

100 Baker NV 89311

Phone Number

775-234-7500

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