Maze Caves are found in only few places in the U.S.
Maze caves like Mark Twain are the most unique karst features in the state. Maze caves were created when water was sandwiched between layers of shale and was only able to move along fractures in the limestone, dissolving out a network of passages in a regular pattern. They exhibit tall straight canyons among their many features. Caves in Missouri can be divided into two patterns: maze and branch work. Whichever pattern a cave becomes mainly depends upon the movement of water through the subsurface. Most caves in Missouri are branch work caves that form when water moves through a single conduit and branches into tributaries, much like a surface stream. Read more in the latest issue of our Missouri Resources Magazine. Also, see our Geologic Column publication. –Joe