Groundwater Characterization of the Madison Aquifer near Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota

Fact Sheet 2019-3072
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By: , and 



Jewel Cave National Monument in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota has more than 200 miles of mapped cave passages and several subterranean lakes that have been discovered since 2015. Jewel Cave is one of the world’s longest known caves and its natural beauty and unique natural cave features led U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt to designate the cave as a national monument in 1908. Jewel Cave was naturally formed in the regionally extensive Madison Limestone, which is characterized as a carbonate karst environment (containing caves and sinkholes) with extensive subterranean cave networks and losing streams at the land surface. Preserving and protecting the cave is an important element of the National Park Service mission, and understanding the hydrogeologic connection between the surface and the subsurface is essential for ensuring the preservation and protection of the cave for future generations. A component in preserving and protecting the park includes the improved understanding of groundwater flow and vulnerability of the subsurface, which allows scientists, park managers, the visiting public, and the surrounding communities to better manage, protect, and preserve the site and its unique natural features.

Suggested Citation

Valder, J.F., Carter, J.M., Wiles, M.E., and Heimel, S.M., 2019, Groundwater characterization of the Madison aquifer near Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3072, 6 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Background and Discoveries
  • Groundwater Characterization of the Madison Aquifer
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Groundwater characterization of the Madison aquifer near Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2019-3072
DOI 10.3133/fs20193072
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Dakota Water Science Center
Description 6 p.
Country United States
State South Dakota
Other Geospatial Jewel Cave National Monument, Madison Aquifer
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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