Cave Notes

Material Information

Cave Notes
Series Title:
Caves and Karst: Research in Speleology
Alternate Title:
Caves and karst: Research in speleology
Cave Research Associates
Cave Research Associates
Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Geology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


General Note:
Content: Planes of Repose in Höllern, Germany / Lou R. Goodman -- Proceedings -- Planar Domes in Solution Caves / Arthur L. Lange -- Some further comments on echinoliths / R. deSaussure and Arthur L. Lange. Cave Notes(vols. 1-8) and Caves and Karst: Research in Speleology(vols. 9-15) were published by Cave Research Associates from 1959-1973. In 1975, the Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation compiled complete sets of the journals in three volumes. The Foundation sells hardbound copies of the material to support its activities.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Location:
Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation Collection
Original Version:
Vol. 6, no. 3 (1964)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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Resource Identifier:
K26-00607 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.607 ( USFLDC Handle )
13105 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0008-8625 ( ISSN )

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CAVE NOTES A Review of Cave and Karst Research Volume 6, No. 3 May/June, 1964 Figure 1. Typical passage cross-section in H8llern, showing planes of repose and arched ceilings (author's photo). PLANES OF REPOSE IN HOLLERN. GERMANY by Lou R. Goodman Located in horizontally bedded gypsum of the Franconian Keuper near Markt-Nordheim, Germany, Hollern contains nearly ideal examples of planes of repose. These are flat, sloping walls believed to result from the effect of impervious sediments accumulating on gentle slopes and preventing solution from attacking the protected rock walls (Lange, 1963). The cave, developed horizontally along a system of fissures, was first discovered in 1926 (Cramer and Heller, 1934), at which time it was largely inundated by slowly moving water. Since discovery, the water level has lowered to the extent that in October 1963 there were no pools exceeding a half meter in length. '*Naturhistorische Gesellschaft, Nllrnberg, Germany 17


CAVE NOTES CAVE NOTES CAVE NOTES is a publication of Cave Research Associates and the Cave Research Association. Subscriptions are available for $2.00 per year (siX issues) or on exchange. Mid-year subscriptions receive the earlier numbers of the volume. Correspondence, contributions, and subscriptions should be addressed to: CAVE RESEARCH ASSOCIATES~ 3842 Brookdale BlVd, Castro valley, Calif. Editor: Arthur L. Lange, Cave Research Associates Associate Editor: Ronald A. Brandon, Cave Research Association (Dept. of Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois) Managing Editor: R. deSaussure, Cave Research Associates. @ Copyright 1964, Cave Research Associates. The cave has characteriJic c roe e c sectaone [F'i.g ur-e 1) consrs cing of planes of repose, arched ce i Hng s and remnants of the controlling fissures running longitudinally along the passages. The walls and ceilings are very heavily e oa.Iloped, indicating a\ flow direction parallel to the controlling fissures and resulting passages. The floors are entirely covered by a coating of mud, whose removal discloses slanting rock surfaces. These planar surfaces extend up to the scallops but remain free from either scalloping or signs of differential solution in the country rock (stratifications are visible in Figure 2). Another example of planes of repose can be seen in one of the side passages (Figure 2). The section consists of three levels where a central cylinder has enlarged to unite with both higher and lower parallel tubes. The lower section shows a plane of repose undercutting the cylindrical walls (Lange, 1963, Fig. 6). Cramer and Heller explain the planar structures (Lo sungs fazetten) by differential solution resulting from stratification of slowly moving water, with heavier ions sinking so that protective saturation would be proportional to depth. This would, however, have the same effect as that proposed by Gripp (1912) and would be possible only in near-stagnant Figure 2. Coalescing passages with planar walls (author's photo). 18


VOLUME 6, NO. 3 ---. ------conditions, as cited by Lange (1963, p.46). Their explanation also fails to explain the arched ceilings and scalloping on the ceilings and walls, with its corresponding absence on the planes (of repose)-all of which are accounted for by Lange-a hypothesis. With only minor variations, Figure 1 is similar to Figure 4A of Lange, reproduced here as Figure 3. Planes of repose are prevalent throughout the cave, except near the entrance, where they are obliterated by breakdown and frost spallation. They are the most prominent feature in the cave and provide the key to the mechanism of its development; namely, dissolving by slowly ciruclating water concurrent with sedimentation. Hollern, therefore, provides for study nearly ideal examples of this diagnostic speleogen. Figure 3. Evolution of tubular passage during sedimentation. References: CRAMER, H. U. and F. HELLER. Das KarstphHnomen im Grundgips des fr~nklschen Keupera. Mitteilungen libel' HBhlenund Karstforschung, Jahrgang 1934, p. 6573, 97-107. 1934. GRIPP, K. tlber den Gipsberg und die in ihm vorhandene Hohle. Hamburg Wissenachaftliche Anstalten, Jahrbuch 30, Beiheft 6, s. 35-51. 1912. LANGE, A. L. 1963. Planes of repose in caves. Cave Notes, vol. 5, no. 6, p. 41-48. PROCEEDINGS Cave Research Associates began a series of geophysical s tud ie e in western cave areas during the winter. The initial project--an evaluation of magnetic profiles over lava tubes-was conducted in and around Lava Beds National Monument and Danger Cave, in northern California, using instruments loaned by Stanford Research Institute. Results will be published when the surveying is completed. Peter Huntoon, of Tucson, Arizona, and Thomas Aley (C. R.A.) entered Cheyava Falls Cave in Grand Canyon National Park, in early JW1.e of this year. The falls issue from an opening 175 feet below the top of the Redwall limestone, in contrast to the other major springs of North Rim, which discharge from caves in the Muav formation, below the base of the Redwall. The cave pas sage was followed to a point 700 feet from the portal, where the ceiling lowers to meet the surface of an unde r g r ound lake. In form, the cave appears to be an active counterpart to Silent River Cave, also near the Redwall rim, which no longer contains any appreciable flowing water. The explorers were supported on the surface by W. B. Martin and A. Lange. Editor's note: CA VE STUDIES Number 12, entitled "An Ethno-Arcbaeologica l Examination of Samwel Cave" by Adan E. Treganza is now in press. The report is illustrated with drawings and photographs and contains detailed maps of the cave. It may be ordered now at the price of $2. 00. 19


CAVE NOTES Figure 1. Planar dome excavated in ceiling of Cave Man Cave, Tuolumne County, California. Dome approximately 1 meter in diameter (from color slide by R. deSaussure). PLANAR DOMES IN SOLUTION CAVES by Arthur L. Lange, Cave Research Associates "Dome!' is a descriptive term applied very generally to ceiling depressions formed around more or less vertical axes. More randomly oriented ceiling excavations are generally called "ceflmg po ck et s!", Writers on cave origin usually do not distinguish among domes of different origins, except to single out the shaft-like "dcmevpi ts", well known from Mammoth Cave and others in Kentucky, probably because the criteria for genetically differentiating domes have not yet been established. In this report I introduce a very distinctive dome type--the planar, or vapor dome, characterized by an exceedingly smooth, horizontal ceiling and vertically ribbed walls (Fig. i ). Basic dome types: In an earlier paper on cave geometry (Lange, 1959), I explained how an elongate ceiling fis sure subjected to uniform solution under submerged conditions might evolve into an arcuate nave (Fig. 2A). The threedimensional equivalent--a vertical cylindrical drill hole or intersection of two vertical joint pjanes-c-would correspondingly dissolve radially outward and upward, carving a surface of revolution, resembling the inside of a cupola (Fig. 2B). This is the most basic type of solution dome. Another kind, the "negative stalactite", is the result of dissolving water trickling down a crack into an air-filled chamber (Fig. 2C). Let us now, from physical premises, develop a third type of dome and seek its occurrence in natural cave s Postulated mechanism of planar dome formation; A cave partially filled with water can dis solve uniformly up to the water surface. If the water level remains, nearly constant, a flat ceiling or water-level plane forms (Lange, 1962). Organic debris, such as leaves or guano, entering the chamber, floats or sinks to the bottom, releasing carbon dioxide and other gases dur20


VOLUME 6, NO. 3 ing decomposition. The escaping gases tend to rise directly upward as bubbles. Where they encounter the rock, they seek 'always the steepest gradient or shortest path upwards, following one another in parallel bubble trails along the overhanging walls, like carbon dioxide bubbles rising in a tilted pop bottle. Ing r az ing the walls, agitation and acid concentration can be expected to enhance the solution rate, engraving the trails and forming tracks for subsequent bubble trains. The trails converge upward because the overhanging walls converge, and conduct toward the high points of the ceiling. Where the ceiling is completely submerged, these points become traps for the ascending bubbles which collect as pockets of gas above a local water surface. Kaye (1957) has demonstrated that the spray from escaping bubbles can dissolve above a water surface to a height of "several inches"; hence, a planar, disc-like dome evolves just above or at the enclosed water surface (Fig. 3). In plan view. the dome' s outline enlarges according to the rules of cave geometry (Lange, 1959), growing outward from initial controlling cracks and tending toward a circular fo r rn, If the ceiling is already nearly a water-level plane, any slight hollow can serve as the incipient trap. If planation by the gas pocket should intercept a still higher pocket or the air chamber, the bubbles would escape in trails outward and upward. leaving a planar "gate" connecting the two chambers. Laboratory experiment: I have already referred to Kayels experiments, in which bubbles of CO~ were observed to corrode nips in a marble column above and along the liquid surface. George Mowat ha a performed a similar experiment (personal communication), wherein a cut block of dolomite was suspended so as to be partly immersed in a heated acid solution. The specimen was observed to dissolve inward and upward to the liquid surface (maintained constant by overflow)' and a miniature 'l wa ter-level plane" resulted, which surrounded the remaining pillar of dolomite. Trains of ascending bubbles were seen to corrode parallel channels across this plane as they escaped outward to the air (Figure 4). The disc-like domes hypothetically cone true ted in the do occur in caves and are always associated with water-level planes. Samwel Cave, Shasta Co. j Alabaster Cave. Eldorado Co.; Rippled Cave, Amador Co.; and Cave Man Cave in Tuolumne Co , California; and Cave Valley Cave, Lincoln Cc , Nevada, contain planar domes. They measure up to a meter in diameter and to about four centimeters in height. Some bear the irregular outlines characOccurrences in caves: pr-oceeding arguments Figure 3. Development of planar dome from initial air trap in ceiling. (Original section shown by solid line; subsequent shapes) by dashed lines; final form, by shaded outline). A ~ QIfJ B c Figure 2. A. Nave; B. Basic solution 'dome; C. "Negative stalactite" 21


CAVE NOTES o .; I '.' I) .. I Figure 5. Coalescent planar domes above a water-level plane and lake in Cave Man Cave (Photograph by Edward P. Searby). em. Figure 4. Bubble trails on dissolved base of specimen. teristic of still visible controlling cracks; others have evolved to almost perfect symmetry. The rims of the domes are commonly ribbed, some of the planes have undercut their walls, forming nips (Fig. 5). In .Cave Man Cave. one can trace bubble trails from the cave floor upward into the planar domes (Fig. 6), and. in some, the trail markings are visible along the plane ceiling, showing the route of gas escape into the air chambel' of the cave. Since the domes are recessed into wate rlevel ceilings, they evidently represent pockets of gas trapped during periods of higher cthan-noxma.l water level. An alte enate view to consider is that the dome s are planed by suspended water columns maintained higher than the normal water level (see LANGE, 19.62: Fig. 5b). In the examples observed, their shallow heights, the presence of bubble trails, and their frequent connections to the air chamber favor the plana.r c vapor dome hypothesis. The fact that the bubble trails meet the ceiling. suggests that the vapor gap is at times almost non-existent. Its volume should vary in accordance with well known gas laws, being roughly inversely proportional to the hydrostatic head. The cave investigator should be warned that bedding plane ceilings might be confused with vapor domes and water-level planes in caves situated in flat-lying bedrock. The observer must then take care to distinguish solution planing from the effects of differential solution along favorable strata and the planes left by rockfalL All of the author's examples cited above occur in homoclinal karst, and so they are easily identified as planar domes. 22


References: VOLUME 6, NO. 3 KAYE, G. The effect of solvent motion on limestone solution. Jour. of Geology, vol. 65, p. 35-46. 195-7-.-LANGE, A. Introductory changing geometry of tures. Cave Studies, 69-90. 1959.--notes on the cave strucno. 11, p LANGE, A. Water level planes in caves. Cave Notes, vol. 4, no. 2, p l2-l~1962. Figure 6. coral on slide by Bubble trails overgrown with cave wall of Cave Man Cave (from color R. deSaussure). DISCUSSION SOME FURTHER COMMENTS ON ECHINOLITHS In his article on echinoliths, Thomas Alei noted that these speleogens are not found in temperate climates, and suggested that the ratio of solution to corrasion is higher in the tropics. The implication is that corrasion must be a significant factor in temperate caves. The evidence would appear predominantly to support solution in both temperate and tropical cave regions. Even in high-gradient cave streams where co r r a s i on might be expected to dominate, we find that some of the most frequently encountered speleogens are flutes and e rr e arn horizons, forms more frequently associated with solution. The insoluble residues such as veins and laminae are usually found in relief regardless of their co r r a s io nal resistance. The pendant forms so frequently found in cave streams, and the carvings in the vicinity of subterranean waterfalls all stress the role of solution rather than corrasion. I agree that echinoliths are clearly a solution form, but I think that their tropical origin may be caused by the presence of organic debris. Decaying vegetable matter would provide a rich source of both acids and carbon dioxide, and in turn cause a higher rate of solution. Under this interpretation. the origin of these specialized forms could be due to a difference in solution rates rather than to the difference between solution and co r r-aa ion For example, if bubbles were generated, they could distinctly alter the contours of the dissolving surfaces; if bubbles were not generated, concentration gradients might be possible in the presence of higher concentrations. Flooding must play an important role in echinolith development because of the necessary exchange of the.dissolving waters, but flooding in horizonin the stream caves of lALEY, T. Jamaica. Echinoliths an important solution feature Cave ~, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 3-5. 1964. 23


CAVE NOTES tal stream caves is not unknown, as, for example, in Missouri and Indiana, both temperate locations. s,imilarly, in many areas, we have a seasonal fluctuation of g round-wate r level. Presumably this condition should be capable of forming echi no li.the if some other factor were not significant. I believe that factor to be the abundance of tropical vegetation, Again, if echinoliths are not formed in the temperate zone-and to my knowledge, they are not reported-then their lack under a corrasion-abrasion conc ept could be used either as an argument against quiet solution, or else as an argument for basic differences in limestone constitutions between temperate and tropical deposits. I do not believe that either case has been adequately demonstrated. These forms could conceivably be used in the study of paleo-karst for the recognition of former tropical cave conditions, and should aid in the examination of fossil caves. Further studies on the presence or absence of other speleogens and speleothems in tropical versus temperate regions might prove highly informative to basic cave theory. R. de Saus s ur-e Cave Research Associates Since the above manuscript was completed, I have received from Mr. J. G. Day the translation of an article [MEl-O, JEN. The present situation and future prospects of karst research-Communist China. Ti-li (Geography, no. 5" p. 172-177. 1962 (transla~ion by Joint Publications Re s ea.r ch Service)] that di scus e es among other pomts, the karst of tropical China. This article concludes that higher erosion in tropical zones is due to the following causes: 1. Greater precipitation, 2. Increased carbon dioxide soil content caused by a high vegetation density, 3. Nitrate traces in tropical rain waters caused by storms, with a resulting increase in solution capacity, 4. Year-round moisture content of soils. These points.:!. offer further support for solution differences between tropical and temperate regions, and therefore may serve to explain the lack of echinoliths in northern regions. The tropical presence of nitrates is most interesting and stresses the need for regarding cave solution in terms of generalized acidic conditions rather than from the viewpoint of carbonic acid alone. R. deSaussure In a recent report on Cuban karst (GRADZrNSKI, R. and A. RADOMSKI. Types of Cuban Caves and their dependence on factors controlling karst development. Acadernie Polonaise des Sciences, Bull., vol. II, p. 151-160. 1963) is a photograph of outdoor lapies in limestone, ch a.r act e-r iz ed by r-o urrdj bowl-shaped bottoms separated by jagged ar~tes. These features, up to 20 ern. deep, which very much resemble Ale y'e description of echinoliths in Jamaican caves, are called locally "di ente de pe r ro" (dogte teeth). The frequent presence of organic debris in the cavities suggests to the authors (after Bogli) that organic acids are principally responsible for this characteristically tropical form. Arthur L. Lange, Cave Research Associates 2 summar izing an extensive literature on the relations between tropical and temperate karst. 24

Content: Planes of Repose in Hllern, Germany / Lou R.
Goodman --
Proceedings --
Planar Domes in Solution Caves / Arthur L. Lange --
Some further comments on echinoliths / R. deSaussure
and Arthur L. Lange.
Cave Notes(vols. 1-8) and
Caves and Karst: Research in Speleology(vols. 9-15)
were published by Cave Research Associates from 1959-1973. In
1975, the Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation compiled complete
sets of the journals in three volumes. The Foundation sells
hardbound copies of the material to support its