Cave Mountain Cave, Alabama


Cave Mountain Cave is shown as "Salt Petre Cave" northwest of Guntersville, AL in this 1894 Geological Survey Map of Alabama.

A couple of weeks ago, a team from Q-Track Corporation traveled to Cave Mountain Cave, south of Huntsville, AL (near Guntersville Dam), to conduct underground radio frequency propagation testing. The results of the testing will be presented elsewhere – this post will describe Cave Mountain Cave.

The Huntsville Grotto of the National Speleological Society was kind enough to bring Cave Mountain Cave to Q-Track’s attention. During the Civil War, the Long Hollow Nitre Works mined 1000 pounds per day of salt peter (potassium nitrate) from the accumulated bat droppings in the cave. For those who have never successfully fought a Gorn, salt peter (along with charcoal and sulfur) is a principal ingredient of gun powder. The “improved” section of the cave is readily accessible for the first 700 feet or so. A helmet is helpful to avoid bumping one’s head on some of the few sections with clearance below six feet. Then a 150 foot or so long three foot high crawl section leads to additional sections of the cave that quickly require some speleological expertise to get through – some vertical climbs and a section that is often flooded. The cave is perhaps too accessible, since it has been heavily vandalized with spray paint.

Cave Mountain Cave is an improved limestone cave with an easily accessed 700 foot long main entry. Here, Q-Track's James Fluhler assesses underground propagation of radio signals.

The cave is a highlight of the Cave Mountain Small Wilderness Area – a 34 acre preserve maintained by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The TVA website has more information on Cave Mountain Cave.

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