Cave Notes

Cave Notes

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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
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Geology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


General Note:
Content: Analytical Review -- Discussion: Negative stalactites -- Reply -- Proceedings -- Annotated Bibliography. 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.
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Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation Collection
Original Version:
Vol. 7, no. 2 (1965)
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See Extended description for more information.

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K26-00615 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.615 ( USFLDC Handle )
13280 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0008-8625 ( ISSN )

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CAVE NOTES A Review of Cave and Karst Research Volume 7, Number 2 Marchi April, 1965 / Frontispiece: "Negative stalactites" in the ceiling of Babylon Cave, Great Inagua Island, Bahamas, B. W. 1. The holes are approximately 1. 5 feet in diameter and penetrate five to ten feet into the roof. Photograph courtesy of R. V. Dunham (see DISCUSSION, page 13), ANALYTICAL REVIEW BROWN, R. F . and T. W. LAMBERT. Reconnaissance of resources in the Mississippian Plateau region of Kentucky. logical Survey Water-Supply Paper 1603. S8p. 1963. The area under study consists of three major physiographic units: the Pennyroyal Plateau, the Knobs, and the Mammoth Cave Plateau, and includes an area of approximately 11,800 square miles. The three units are considered together rather than individually in the text; this treatment is to me an inadvisable oversimplification. The text consists of general comments on the geology and geography of the region, plus sections on general hydrolground-water U. S. Gee-9


CAVE NOTES CAVE NOTES CAVE NOTES is a publication of Cave Research i\ssociates. 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, Department of Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois Managing Editor: R. deSaussure, Cave Research Associates. @ Copyright 1965, Cave Research Associates. ogy, the availability of ground water. methods of obtaining ground water, and a final section on water quality. A number of large tables and graphs accom.pany the text. Some of the illustrations, such as Plate 4. could have been improved with the addition of horizontal and vertical scales. In treating the availability of ground water, the authors attempt to derive generalized rules for determining the situations under which adequate supplies of water are most likely to be encountered by wells. Statements such as the following are common: "Thus, of 7 drilled bedrock wells that are situated on upland areas, hillsides, and valley bottoms and yield more than 50 gpm, about 57 percent are in the group which is less than 1000 feet from streams and whose water level is less than 50 feet above local stream levels." (page 28). "Of the 16 inadequate wells that yield l:,ess than 5 gpm, only 18 percent are less than 500 feet from sinks and have a water level less than 50 feet above the local stream level." (page 30)" Nowhere are we told what the spacing of streams is, nor do we receive any information on the spacing of sinks. Without this information the innumerable percentages have no meaning or value, They serve only to mislead the reader into believing that 11 the chances are 3 to I in favor of obtaining an adequate well. II (page 30). If in the sinkhole example quoted above the spacing of sinks was such that 18 percent of the area was within 500 feet of a sink, and we had adequate samples and a well designed experiment, we could conclude that the proxim.ity of sinkholes to wells made no difference in the occurrence of an adequate water supply. Let us now assume that only two percent of the area is within 500 feet of a sink. If this were the case we could conclude that wells should not be drilled near sinks, which is the exact opposite of the authors I conclusion. Similar comments could be made throughout this section of the publication. In portions of the section on availability of ground water, the authors give odds for the success of wells drilled in various situations. Examples of this are fou.nd on page 30 of the text. Let us ignore, for a moment, the fact that we lack the necessary information on the spacing of streams and sinks and the range in water levels. The giving of odds apparently indicates that the authors believe that they hav:e randomly s electe d their wells. A well which does not encounter suitable water is abandoned and commonly forgotten. to


VOLUME 7, NO, 2 It seems highly unlikely that all of these abondoned wells would have been discovered during the field work; it seems more likely that these wells were excluded from the study. 1£ this is the case, then there is a much larger proportion of unsatisfactory wells than is indicated by the autho r e figures. The small sample size in relation to the total number of wells in a xegion encompassing 11,800 square rni.Ie s plus the fact that the sample wells were undoubtedly non-randomly selected, would seem to invalidate the pr obabilities given by the authors. Karst lands are exceedingly variable. Even if valid probabilities could be developed for the Mississippian Plateau region of Kentucky as a whole, which, it will be remembered, includes three phyaiagraphic units. these figures would not be applicable to local regions unless the karst were everywhere uniform. Turning from the quantitative aspects of this monograph to the qualitative interpretations. one finds that the authors tend to make pos~tive statements on insufficient evidence. Where often there are several possible explanations for an observed phenomenon, the authors usually employ only one. A good example begins at the bottom of page 22 in the explanation of Plate 9B Situations are considered where the water level in the well e tarts at a low point, rises as much as 14 feet, and then returns to approximately the same low point. The interval from low point to low point is approximately one month. The sharp rise is interpreted as due to heavy rains which replenish the well through open solution channels. The sharp decreases in water level are explained as follows: "The water level in this well is affected also by siphon action. A siphon is not primed until the wa ter level in the well is high enough to fill the siphon tube. When the water level in the surrounding solution openings falls, the siphon pulls the water level in the well down to the level of the siphon opening, frequently below the standing level before the water level had started to rise. A more plausible explanation is that input of water to the system can occur at rates greater than outflow from the system. After the end of the heavy storm flows, the outflow from the system is greater than inflow, and the water level in the well drops rapidly. River stages. where the channel is well defined and water is not spread over large flood plains, have similar rapid decreases after the end of the storm flows, as is shown in Table 1. Prior to the construction of an underground flood control darn, the level of water in the Waterfall Room of Marvel Cave, Branson, Missouri, commonly rose 40 feet, then fell that amount within a period of a week or two. When the inundation in the Waterfall Room reached 40 feet, the water entered a second solutional passage which was capable of transporting tremendous volumes of water. Below the level of the second passage, the change in height or the watex was directly proportional to the difference between the inflow and outflow rates of the chamber. When the inflow rate was greater than the outflow rate, the water level in the chamber rose. When the inflow rate dropped below the outflow rate, the water Ievel in the flooded chamber fell. This behavior did not require siphon action anymore than did the Feather River example. The explanation of Plate 9C states that this well is also affected by siphons, and the same comments regarding Plate 9B would again Dec. 23 259 GAGE HEIGHT DATE ~ -+_~IN~FE_~"--. Dec. 21 220 219 Dec. 25 Table 1. Gage heights of ~eather River, near Or-ov t Ll.e Ca Lf f; during the flood of December, 1955 (CALIFORNIA, DEPT. OF WATER RESOURCES, 1956) 11


CliVE NOTES apply. If siphons were so Irnpo r tant ebb and flow springs would be the rule rather than the exception. On page 22, in the explanation of Plate 8, the authors attribute the sharp rise in water level of a well to the rising of the "wate r table" to a zone where openings are more sparse. This should be labelled as an as s urnptton, for there are two other possible explanations. The first is that an error might have been made in reading the depth from the ground surface to the water level as 72 plus feet rather than 82 plus feet. It will be noted that the end of 1956 was not as wet a period as the first two months of 1956. Because of the amount of precipitation in the two periods, and the rise in water level of the nearby reservoir, much more water should have been introduced underground during January and February than during December. Furthermore, it will be noted that the water level of the well at the end of January was, for all practical purposes, identical with the level shown for the end of November. According to the bar graph, there were 11.7 inches of precipiation in February, compared with 8.6 inches in December. It seems unlikely that the period with lower precipitation, probable lower antecedent soil moisture storage, and smaller effect on reservoir level should be the period which would produce such a large rise in ground-water level. The other possible explanation. assuming all measurements are correct, is that there is poor continuity between water-storage voids, and at the time of well meas ur-e ment in Dece mbe r this well did not validly reflect the average height at which ground water stood. Reading further, one encounters a confusing contradiction: "As in many other wells in limestone the very sharp rise in water level .... is the result of water filling most of the larger solution opeui ng s and rising more rapidly as it reaches higher levels and fills more widely spaced and smaller voids per unit volume of rock." (page 24). "In carbonate rocks, such as limestone, the principal openings are generally secondary) and exist as a result of solution along joints and be dddng planes. These openings generally are larger and more numerous near the surface) and decrease in size and number with depth." (page 25). The explanation for the opposing views may lie in the application of the water-table concept to limestone terrain. The water table, according to the definition used by the authors, is the "upper surface of the zone of saturation except where that surface is formed by impermeable material" (page 17). Under this conceptual framework all the voids are connected, and a change in the water level height in one void causes a similar change in all other voids. The only way that sharp increases and r-e c r ea e e s in well levels can be explained is to invoke 1) siphons, or 2) sharp changes in the volume of voids per unit volume of rock. It may be possible to define the term "water table II in such a way that it applies to limestone terrain. I do not intend to concern myself here with thevalidity of the term, rather I wish to question its usefulness and the related concepts it imparts. In the Marvel Cave exa mpl.e cited earlier, the water in the Waterfall Room rose not because there was siphon action; neither did it rise because there was a smaller vo lume of voids per unit rock mass at higher levels. The wate r level rose because the outlet passage was not large enough to r e rno ve all of the water added to the chamber by the inlet passage. This situation is difficult to incorporate in the water-table concept, yet it occurs so frequently that it might ahnost be called characteristic of karst terrain. Subsurface karst hydrology could be better visualized as a three-dimensional e.e e emblage of various sized reservoirs connected by various sized pipes with dtve r s e gradients. II


VOLUME 7, NO, 2 In conclusion, I suggest that careful consideration be given to the specialized characteristics of karst before final results of studies on the hydrology of the Mississippian Plateau ar-e released. Thomas Al e'y Cave Research Associates DISCUSSION "NEGATIVE STALACTITES'! In his geometrical analysis of cave features, A'r thu'r Lange has defined a hypothetical speleogen forming in air, the "ne g a ti ve stalactite, as the solutional analog of the no r rna.l stalactite (Geometrical basis for cave interpretation. National Speleological Soc. Bull., vol. 22, p77-84. 1960; Planar domes in solution caves. Cav"' '"""Notes, vo L, 6, p. 20~23. 1964). The neg ative e talacti.te" is drawn as a ratI1e'rSmall, short dome, tapering upward to a smoothly arched ceiling, and centered on a crevice which conducts a trickle of water into the dome (Figure 1A). It seems doubtful, however, that a simple reversal of the stalactite-depositing process would result in a cavity of the shape depicted. Ideally, in uniformly soluble rock, a seep of solvent, freely descending a vertical crack fr-om a fixed source should develop a cylindrical or nearly cylindrical shaft of the II do rne pi t' type. The introduction of complicating factors is required to account for abrupt cessation of solution above a ceiling arch. Inhibition of solution in the conduit ab ave a dome. as by an insoluble stratum, or a protecting lining of sediment, might cause such an effect. So might enhancement of solution in the dome itself, as by absorption of COlO from the cave air by a previously neutral seep film, or condensation of atmospheric water on the dome wall. Many specific situations, of varying complexity and probability, might be capable of producing arched domes. However, such domes would be features of c ornpoe ite origin. In the absence of empirical evidence for the growth of similar domes under the comparatively simple conditions postulated by Lange. definition of the nega tive stalactite as a basic geometric element of cave structure, distinct from the dorrie p i t e ee ms unwarranted. This subject can be investigated by studying caves in which extensive resolution of stalactites by drip water is taking place. I have visited one such cave (Spring Cave, Colorado) without finding domes of the "negative-. stalactite" type. Donald G. Davis La Mirada, California REPLY In his criticism, Mr. Davis assumes that solution is going on in the tight crack above the negative stalactite. But in the generation of the elementary positive stalactite, this water i mrne dta te l.y above the orifice is saturated, and hence, either deposits in the crack, sealing i t., or passes on toward the tip of the stalactite. The re the solution loses CO;,: or water by evaporation, permitting deposition and the extension of a straw stalactite. Robert Dunham suggested to me that the domelike negative stalactite can corne about by the reversing of conditions. Thus the chamber would have a surplus of CO~, so that the issuing water, instead of releasing, would abs o rb CO 2 and initiate solution at the ceiling orifice. The water in the crack, meanwhile, must not dissolve, since in the positive case it is not depositing. This situation is a more accurate reversal of conditions and process. 13


CAVE NOTES D A D B c I"eej . Figure 1. Hypothetical dome types: A. Tapered dome; B. Hemispherical "negative stalactite" showing stages of growthi C. Same, modified by saturation of solvent water with path distance, and deposition; D. "Cylindrical waterfall" in limestone capped by sandstone La ye r-. The negative stalactite thus grows radially upward from the terminus of the crack at the ceiling, starting hemispherically. Soon CO;:: is absorbed throughout the cavity surface and the dome enlarges as a pure form (Figure IB). R. deSaus sur e points out, however. that in nature complications might arise: I) The rate of solution of the water film trickling down the dome walls c,ould decrease with path distance as the water becomes saturated wi th bicarbonate. In the extreme case, the water could deposit at the ceiling as a fringe of draperies. This factor would tend to forrn a dome of contracted cross-section at the botto:rn (Figure IC). 2) A COO!. gradient, due to gravity, might be present in the chamber. so that the rate of CO<\ absorption would be less toward the top of the dome, resulting in a contracted apex. Dr. Dunham'e examples in the frontispiece ane more cylindrical than hemispherical, but he did mention seeing such a dome with a stalactite forming in its apex, indicating the reversal of process we are ,discussing. If the water in the crack is also dissolving, as Mr. Davis implies, the vertical filament representing the crack begins to enlarge into a circular cylinder. With enlargement, its reservoir. or source, drains into it. If the upper surface of the s tr at urra containing the crack is an inclined plane, the descending water cuts "he adwaxd": that is, updip; forming a high slot-like ch.a mbe r If the surface is level, or depressed. water can approach from all sides almost equally. producing, in effect, a "cylindrical waterfall. If If anastomose conditions obtain around the lip, we may expect the excoriated dornepdts described by Bretz to form (Caves of Missouri. Missouri Di v ~ Geological Survey and Water Resources, 2d ser vol. 39. 1956). ---with a substantial structural depression in limestone capped by sandstone for the source region, a fairly uniform cylindrical waterfall having a flat ceiling may be expected (Figure ID). Pohl (Vertical shafts in limestone caves. ~.~.~. Occasional Paper, no. 2. 1955) and Merrill (Addi.ttonal notes on vertical shafts in limestone caves. N. S, S. Bufl, vol. 22, p101-108. 1960) both draw domepits as having taper-;;;d ceilings, but to me this shape is not explained in their texts. Whether or not the conjectured cy lindrical waterfalls" actually exist and are equivalent to simple domepits, I do not know, since I have not had the opportunity to study the latter. 14 Arthur L. Lange Cave Research Associates


VOLUME 7, NO. 2 PROCEEDINGS New journals: Studies in Speleology. vo l., 1, part I, 1964, has been mailed to me:mbers of t'ii"eASsociation of the Pengelly Cave Research Centre. The journal contains articles and reviews by workers in the cave sciences around the world. Membership is available for $3.00 per year ($1.50 to students). Address applications to M. A. Rennie, Esq., 40 Bradley Gardens, Ealing, London, W. 13, England. International Journal ~ Speleology is a new quarterly of articles, news, and abstracts, published by J. Cramer. 694 We inhe im Germany. Volume 1, numbers 1+2 (boun.d together), with 256 pages, 59 plates, is now available. The annual subscription rate is $20.00. Boletim do Sociedade Portuguesa de Espeleologia began its second series. volume 1 in~63. It is published twice a year. and is devoted to technical articles on biospe!eology, archeology, cave geology, and descriptions of caves. Available from the Society Director, Eduardo Serpa, Rua dos Sapateiros, 219-420 dt2o, Lisbon, for 6$00 (aic) annually in Portuguese currency. * , ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY DAVIS, DONALD G. Black Swifts nesting in 0. Ltrne s t oue cave in Colorado. Wilson, Bulletin, vol. 76, no. 3, p 295-296. September 1964. a unique nesting site of the little-known Black SWift, the twilight sons of a canyon-wall cave from which a for this bird at ecologically similar cave entrances is --Author A brief report of Cypseloides niger, in stream pours. Search suggested. ELSASSER, A. B., and R. County, California. p 1-45. 1963. An unusual collection of perishable artifacts were found in a cache in a small cave, including nine baake t.s feather bands, bone whistles, bull roarers and perforated stone clubs. The cache is believed to have been placed in the cave in the latter part of the 18th Century and to be of Chumash origin. -L. A. P. F. HEIZER. The archaeology of Bowers Cave, Los California Un! v Archaeological Survey Repo r-t Angeles no. !?7, GALBREAnI, EDWIN C. A dire wolf skeleton and Powder Mill Creek Cave, Missouri. Illinois State Academy of Science, ~., vol. 57, no. 4, p. 224-242. 1964. A partial skeleton of a dire wolf, Canis dirus, found in Shannon County, Missouri, is similar to those from Ra-ncho La Br-e a California. The Missouri bones are dated at 13,170 .. 600 years by radiocarbon tests. A map and description of the cave are included. --R. A. B. GEBHARD. D., G. A. AGOGINO, and V. R. HAYNES. Horned Owl Cave, Wyoming. American Antiquity, vo L. 29, no. 3, p 360-368. 1964. A variety of perishable artifacts along with stone, bone, and pottery sne r ds were recovered. The site lacked stratigraphy, due to its disturbed condition, but the materials are placed in the Late Middle and Late Prehistoric Cultures of the northern Great Flaim. Three styles of pictographs are described and probable relationships to the cultural phases are suggested. --L. A. P. HALE, G. E., and ALAN SPRY. A cave in dolerite at Wayatinah, cal Society of Australia, Jnl, vol. 11, Pt 2, p. 213-216. A cave (60x3Qx17 feet) occurs within Jurassic dolerite Tasmania. Geologi1964. 600 feet from the *Containing references from non-speleological journals only, and books. 15


CAVE NOTES surface. It was formed by zeoli tization of a zone in the dolerite solution of the secondary minerals to leave a cavi t.y. followed by --Authors HAYNES, DONALD D. Geology of the Mammoth Cave Quadrangle, Kentucky. !!:~. Geological Survey Quadrangle Map GQ-351, 1 sheet. 1964, Mammoth Cave and the Flint Ridge cave system lie at the base of the Girkil: and the top of the Ste. Genevieve formations of Late Mississippian (Late Carboniferous) age. The rocks dip about 10 meters pel' kd Lome t e r to the northwest. --G. W,M. HOSTETLER, P. B. The degree of saturation of magnesium and calcium carbonate minerals in natural waters. International Association of Scientific Hydrology PubL no. 64, p. 34-49. 1964. If dolomi te deposition occurs chiefly from water in the range of 5-10 times saturation, as is true for calcite, then the SOlubility product for dolomite is no less than 1017. The depouf 'ta on of hydromagnesite and other minerals is more effective in limiting the magnesium content of natural water than a dolomite saturation ceiling. The fact that calcite is the usual CaC0 3 mineral from Lake water with a high Mg/Ca ratio suggests that Mg is not an important factor in aragoni te deposi t.rcn, and the forma tion of aragoni te rather than calci te may be due to a rapid release of CO 2 to the cave air. --G.W.M. LUNDQUIST, K. A Verde Valley dig. Masterkey, vol. 37, no. 1, p 18-21. JanuaryMarch 1963. A brief description of excavations carried out in two "open face rock shelters" and a "full-fledged cave" in the Verde Valley, Arizona. Two mummies of small children with cloth wrappings and numerous perishable artifacts were recovered. --L.A.P. MASON, R. J., and N. J. van del' MERWE. Radiocarbon dating of Iron Age sites in the southern Transvaal-Melville Koppies and Ui tkomst Cave. South African Jnl of Science, vol. 60, no. 5, p 142. 1964. C-14 elates of charcoal from a smelting furnace surface site and part of a sharpened stick from a furnace of Bed 3 in UJ. tkomst Cave are 890 -+ 50 B P. and 300 .:!:. 80 B. P., respectively. These are the first estimates for Iron Age events in southern 'rrensvaat --A. L. L, MIYAKOSHI, J. Study on geomagnetic variation of telluric origin-Pt 3. On geomagnetic anomaly observed at some hot spring areas. Kyoto Vniv., Disaster Prevention Research Inst., Bull. 51, p. 46-60. 1962. Hot spring areas in Tottori Prefecture, Japan, are accompanied anomalies in the vertical intensity magnetic field. These might be the tracing of underground conduits of hot springs. by negative applied to --A. L. L. PADERA, K.) and P. POVONDRA. Das Vorkommen des Huntits und Magnesits aus den Grotten Zb r-a Eov bei Tiplice nad Becvou. Vniv. Carolinae Acta Geologica, vol. 1964, no. 1, p 15-24. 1964. Hunti te and magnesite occur wi th The hunti te contains sepiolite, and jite, described from Zba~ov Cave in aragonite in Zba~ov Cave, czecnot sr.ovaki e it is believed that Kaspar's mineral ondre1944, is actually this mixture. --G.W.M. POULSON, TIfOMAS L. Animals in aquatic environments: animals in caves. In DILL, D. S" Ed. Handbook ~ Physiology, Section 4: Adaptation to the environment. American Physiological Society, Washington, D. C. 1964 (p 749-771). A thorough synthesis of knowledge about the adaptation of fresh-water animals to cave environments. --R.A.B. Contributors: Donald G. Davis; R.A.B., Ronald A. Brandon; A.L.L., A. L. Lange; G.W.M., George W. Moore; L.A.P., Louis !\.. Pa ye n. 16

Content: Analytical Review --
Discussion: Negative stalactites --
Reply --
Proceedings --
Annotated Bibliography.
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


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