Town Built On A Cave

As you have probably seen in my previous post, I am from Lewisburg…a charming little town nestled in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. It’s a small town with an area of less than four square miles. Since it’s in the mountains, there are many caves around like Organ Cave and Lost World Caverns. Set aside from these two, which are big tourist sights, we have a lot of little caves that are explored by locals that don’t yet have names. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always heard that Lewisburg was built on a cave. This came from teachers, local geologists, and locals themselves. It has always puzzled me, I mean come on…How could a hollowed out hill support a town? I don’t know much about the subject but I looked into it a little bit farther and found out some information on how this could be. A cave is a natural underground space that is big enough for a human to fit into. The formation of a cave is known as speleogenesis. They are formed by various geologic processes which could be a combination of chemical processes, erosion from water, tectonic forces, microorganisms, pressure, atmospheric influences, and digging. There are many different kinds of caves such as limestone, talus, sea, mud, and ice. Depending on the type of cave, it can hold up several pounds. A cave has to have enough support on the sides kind of like bridge does. It acts as a bridge. This is the same way a subway can be built under a city…it all depends on the support system. Andrew Lewis, Lewisburg’s found father explored this cave first, it is documented in Greenbrier county’s historical society. It’s actually really neat to read the discovery document. There are so many land marks and animals that are still there today, and then some that are not…that you never thought they would be there. But, they discovered the cave and used their knowledge to put together a structured town that would work. They built the town in just the way that the weight was balanced out and wouldn’t collapse the cave that was underneath. I’m just so fascinated with how they even knew this. Today, Lewisburg is still standing strong, there hasn’t been any significant damage to any of the land around the town except for a few sink holes that aren’t exactly right in town. It’s a beautiful place that has a lot of geological and historical value.

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One Response to Town Built On A Cave

  1. aander93 says:

    Wow thats amazing that a cave can support the weight of a town. To me when I think of a cave, I see this hollow and weak area that is ready to collapse at any given moment. I wonder what made them decide that it would be ok to place a town over a hollow area. Im glad its still standing in good condition, which tells a lot about the balance and structure of the town.

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