Ruby Falls, An Underground Waterfall in Tennessee

16 comments

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Approximately 1,120 feet below ground within the heart of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee, lies the United States’ tallest and deepest waterfall. Named Ruby Falls, after the founder’s wife, the waterfall is located at the end of the main passage of Ruby Falls Cave, in a large vertical shaft that was eroded out of limestone rock by salt water millions of years ago. The stream, fed by rainwater and natural springs, falls 145 feet and collects into a pool in the cave floor and then continues through the mountain until finally joining the Tennessee River at the base of Lookout Mountain. Ruby Falls is believed to be 30 million years old.

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Ruby Falls Cave, unlike Lookout Mountain Cave, had no natural openings and could not be entered until the 20th Century. In 1905, the natural entrance to Lookout Mountain Cave had to be closed during the construction of a railway tunnel. Leo Lambert, a local cave enthusiast who knew of Lookout Mountain Cave, decided to reopen it to the public and formed a company to do so. Shortly after drilling started in the fall of 1928, the team discovered a passageway 260 foot underground and still 160 feet above the Lookout Mountain Cave.

Lambert, along with a small crew, entered this opening to explore the new found cave. While exploring they discovered a number of unusual and beautiful rock formations, flowing passages and several stream beds. Pushing their way deeper and deeper into the cave, they finally reached its marvelous jewel, the waterfall. Mr. Lambert and his exploration party were awestruck by it magnificence and beauty, and quickly returned to the surface to share the news. On his next exploration into the cave, Lambert took several people including his wife Ruby to see the many wonders they had discovered. It was then Lambert decided to call the waterfall “Ruby Falls.”

Lambert planned to open both the Lookout Mountain Cave and the new found Ruby Falls Cave to the public and offered tours to both caves. Ruby Falls proved to be the most popular with its many unusual formations and of course the waterfall itself. Lack of public enthusiasm finally lead to the closure of the Lookout Mountain Cave in 1935. Development of the Ruby Falls Cave continued. Electric lights were installed in the cave, making it one of the first caves in the world to be electrified. Later elevators were added to provide hundreds of thousands of visitors easy access to the caves each year.

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16 comments:

  1. Typical Americans, can't enjoy natural beauty naturally. The multi-coloured lights are so tacky and unnecessary.

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    1. Anonymous, why dont you just go back to where you came from and we will enjoy our american beauty of nature and wonders. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. Well take your non american ass back across the damn ocean. US AMERICANS like our nature and wonders that are found. Let me guess your probably a Mexican and guess what take your drugs and illegals back with you.

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    3. We have one of these where I'm from in Spain, its super tacky! Anonymous, please learn punctuation before spouting your BS...

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  2. Typical "Anonymous", not taking ownership of tacky accusations...

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    1. Do you honestly think the pink and purple lights add to the beauty? They don't. I personally think they're stupid and ridiculous.

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  3. I guess you think your personal opinion is the only valid opinion.

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  4. I agree, why ruin something so beautiful with coloured lights? The first pictures are much nicer.

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  5. As a PROUD American, I think it looks just awesome. Negative comments leveled at american and/or americans usually come from the weak and conquered...think Europeans.

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    1. I didn't came here to argue, but please... Weak and conquered? Your American mind is conquered by your media and stupidity that's served at you as a cold fucking dinner. You obviously don't have a clue about Europe, mother of your PROUD America. Mate, your origin is European, you're not a bloody Indian! And for that proud feeling of yours, I think you should be a bit less proud on your world destructing and abnormal America.

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    2. Oh fuck you the Europeans came and left. Us America made its self with hard word by our people we don't set back and spend all of our money to make a royal family richer than our entire nation

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  6. Looks like its a pattern, how "ugly" huh? Seems like the colored lights are not on all the time, just like Niagra: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2012/06/niagara-falls-light-show.html

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  7. I too prefer it natural

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  8. being a Chattanooga native I have been there many times...the lights are not always on. but the holiday lights are very pretty. love ruby falls thanks for the great article

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  9. If you have never been there, then keep your mouth shut. I live in SC and throughout the summer me and a few buddies make the trip just to hike it. And the lights you are so upset about are not on all the time. So how about you take the time to go view the falls then leave your OPINIONS

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  10. Anonymous, just so you know, it makes the falls brighter so you are not standing it pitch black!

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