Exploring the vast Crystal Cave - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Exploring the vast Crystal Cave

Spring Valley (WAOW) -

Buried seven stories below Pierce County lines a mile-long void in the Earth known as Crystal Cave. And from its discovery it has unleashed a wealth of interesting tales.

"It's a lot of fun," Eric McMaster told Newsline 9.

Last year McMaster became the latest chapter to the cave's story. That's when he sold his business in Minneapolis and moved to Wisconsin to buy the cave. An act essentially materializing a life-long dream.

"It's a very interesting occupation to own a cave. It's a of work, especially during the summer because we're open seven days a week, but we really have a fun time with it," McMaster continued.

McMaster's purchase of the cave places him on a long timeline that stretches back to the 1800's when the cavern was originally discovered.

The story goes that in 1881, two brothers stumbled upon an entryway to the cave when chasing an animal down a hole in the ground.

Further exploration throughout the years unveiled additional passages and rooms below the ground. To date approximately 1,600 meters of cave have been uncovered.

According to McMaster, the cave continues to conduct active research with speleological groups in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Though they know there is more to uncover, that is a difficult task to endure thanks to Wisconsin's history with the glaciers.

"They do active exploration, active digs and active research in our cave system, and we do know it extends further than what we've already explored but unfortunately because of the glaciation a lot of it was filled in with glacial mud," McMaster said.

But even with more cave to be uncovered in the future, visitors today seem quite impressed with the amount of room revealed below the surface.

"I see a lot of people that are surprised, that are excited, but when they come in they just see the beauty of the cave and they really enjoy it," Courtney Geed said.

Geed is a geologist who leads tour groups through the halls and rooms of the sprawling subterranean voids. Whenever a tour group stops, they are submerged in the sound of near silence in the caves, only occasionally disturbed by a splash of water.

"The water is how the cave is formed. As water is dripping through the fractures in the cracks of the rocks slowly dissolves the rock away," Geed said.

Ample views of stalagmites and stalactites shows the impacts of water at numerous turns about the space.

"Some of our rock formations here grow under 1" every 100 years. So when you're seeing large stalagmites, that's taking thousands and thousands of years to grow and you're able to come up right to it," McMaster said.

And as the latest caretaker of this geologic wonder, McMaster says they'll be here to look and for generations to come.

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