Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mylroie, John

Committee Member

Schmitz, Darrel

Committee Member

Rodgers, John

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


The purpose of this project was to distinguish between the karst and pseudokarst caves throughout Mississippi, create an inventory and survey of representative caves and karst features, identify the geology of the rocks hosting the caves, and produce a GIS-based digital karst map. The State of Mississippi is not known for its karst features, yet there are three distinct limestone units that contain dissolution caves: 1) Paleozoic (Mississippian) Tuscumbia Formation limestone; 2) Mesozoic carbonate units; and 3) Cenozoic limestone, Marianna Formation. There are a total of 44 caves known within the state based on past documentation, however the caves listed are not always differentiated between karst or pseudokarst features. This study located and mapped 20 caves, of which 18 were karst caves from eight counties and two were pseudokarst caves from two counties. Four of these caves were newly discovered karst caves, increasing the state total to 48; however two separate karst caves were connected, which makes the final state total 47 caves. Of the remaining 28 caves not surveyed, 11 were pseudokarst caves from eight counties and were not studied because the focus was on dissolutional karst caves. The remaining 17 missing karst caves either had been destroyed, access permission could not be obtained, or the caves could not be located. No active caving organizations exist in Mississippi to preserve cave location data or the caves themselves. Mining, deforestation, and other land use procedures have altered the landscape, resulting in concealment of some caves, and completely or partially destroying other caves.