The largest underground lake in the US is under Tennessee, discovered by a 13 yr old boy

Deep inside a mountain near Sweetwater in East Tennessee is a remarkable body of water known as The Lost Sea. Listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as America’s largest underground lake, the Lost Sea is part of an extensive and historic cave system called Craighead Caverns.

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The caverns have been known and used since the days of the Cherokee Indians.

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First Visitor

One of the cave’s earliest visitors was a giant Pleistocene jaguar whose tracks have been found deep inside the cave. Some 20,000 years ago the animal apparently lost his way in the darkness and wandered for days before plunging into a crevice far from the daylight he sought. Some of the bones, discovered in 1939, are now on display in the American Museum of Natural History in New York.


Pleistocene Jaguar on display in California La Brea tar pits museum

 Boy makes a discovery

The lake was discovered in 1905 by a thirteen-year-old boy named Ben Sands. As the story goes Sands, who often played in the cave, happened upon a small opening and crawled through. The room was so large he was unable to see the ends of the room with his lantern, so he threw balls of mud in all directions and heard splashes. When he went back home and told people of his discovery they were hesitant to believe him. By the time Ben convinced his father to go back down with him to explore it further, the water level had risen, hiding the cave entrance from them. It was rediscovered by local explorers several years later.


Civil war mine

When the first white settlers arrived in the Tennessee Valley in the 1820’s they also discovered the cave and used it for storing potatoes and other vegetables.

During the Civil War the Confederate Army mined the cave for saltpeter, a commodity necessary to the manufacture of gunpowder.


Still being explored

The full extent of the Lost Sea is still not known despite the efforts of teams of divers armed with modern exploration equipment. Beneath the calm waters of the giant lake, the adventurous divers have found a series of large rooms filled entirely with water. More than 13 total acres have been mapped so far. Perhaps the lost sea is the cause of the Ebbing and Flowing stream in Rogersville

In 1915 the idea of developing the cave for the public was conceived. A dance floor was installed in one of the large upper rooms.


Fish of the Lost Cave

There are even fish in the lake, primarily rainbowless rainbow trout. Predecessors of these fish had been carried down through Craighead Caverns and released into the lake by people curious to see if they would escape and reveal a conduit to another body of water. But they stayed put. And in the deep, lightless cave their eyesight and color faded and their sex drive vanished. Since the lake itself sustains no plant or animal life, the trout learned to swarm around visiting rafts and launch themselves into airborne food deliveries. “Now we restock them and keep them on as a tourist attraction.”



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  1. O it all started with the the USS Scorpion SSN-589 was on a top secret mission to head out in the Pacific ocean to map and record all areas of the coastline on the west coast to find great spots to launch its counter attack on Soviet Union submarines.

    While doing this exercise the entire crew experienced an underwater earthquake which is now known as a T – Event, they were only 1430 ft off the coast of Monterey Bay California when this T – Event triggered an underwater mountain slide that opened a big hugh underwater cave that is 3000m (10.000ft) wide, it was stated by captain Francis that both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets could enter this cave and still have room to maneuver.

    He was ordered to explore the cave and went in and that’s when they must have had an accident because shortly after they lost contact the race was on to find the ship and her crew because the sub was nuclear powered and it carried two mark 45 nuclear torpedoes. They must have exceeded both Port=Left / Starboard=Right clearances because all hands were lost.

    End of part one.

  2. Ok I apologize to everyone here I’m experiencing something odd, every time I finish a paragraph it disappears I will get the truth out but for now I have to figure out another way on how to get it all up at once.
    Again I do apologize for this FB crap. Ashta Lou hit me with your phone digits and I’ll tell you personally over the phone, if you want. But for now I’m perplexed.

  3. If anyone doubts the validity of this I can tell you this much; you’ll lose, I know the real reason how this was found and I’ll gladly share, but you’ll have to you’re own digging,I cab point to amap for you; but I’m not going with you.

  4. Nope the largest has not been found, and no one can get to it unless you have a submersible that can get you down to 1430 feet in Monterey Bay in California and this underwater cave goes all the way thur Nevada up to Utah and right under the mormans Temple about 4300 underground is a hidden blacksite for a Navy mini nuclear submarines pen, seals know about this.

    • The opening out into the pacific was picked up on Google Earth a year or so ago. There is an almost oval area covering the opened area with the slightest hint of large pillars supporting it.

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