Davis Nolan Underground: Jewel Cave

Weekend Extra

DICKSON, Tenn. (WKRN) – Jewel Cave is in Dickson, Tennessee, and is now owned by The Jackson Foundation (The Rennaisance Center, The Ruskin).

For years, kids in the area have had the opportunity to visit the cave and learn about its geology and history.

“I used to come in here when I was a little child,” explained Doug Jackson of the Jackson Foundation. “Schools would take field trips out here. It was a real popular place. And this, you would come in here and it looked so big. And it was scary to come into a dark cave.”

The cave is temporarily closed while it is being “re-lit” with LED lights using lower voltage.

While it is closed, the electricity is off, but Jackson gave News 2 a personal tour where the only light was from our flashlights. That gave a whole new perspective of what it’s like to explore a cave!

Formations seen by flashlight

“These columns here could be a million years old, or older,” Jackson said. “You see these big cracks? A state geologist thinks that these were created during the earthquake that created Reelfoot Lake.”

Jewel Cave was found by accident in 1885.

Cracks in columns likely created by the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812

“They were blasting the highway with dynamite, and lo-and-behold they opened this up. And everybody was just amazed,” Jackson recounted.

“We need to re-open this. And we will one day and let kids come in because kids need to be connected to the Earth a little better,” said Jackson.

They hope to have the cave re-lit and open it for school field trips again next spring.

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