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:
Phototropic cave coral / R. deSaussure -- Discussion / A. Lange -- Editorial the prospects for cave-dwellers -- Analytical reviews / Richard E. Graham -- Proceedings. 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:
Windy City Grotto Collection, 1961-2013
Original Version:
Vol. 3, no. 4 (1961)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-00638 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.638 ( USFLDC Handle )
13709 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0008-8625 ( ISSN )

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Karst Information Portal

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CAVE NOTES Publication of Cave Research Associates Volume 3. No.4 July/August. 1961 Figure 1. Phototropic cave coral aligned toward the entrance of Teopisca. Cavern, Mexico. PHOTOTROPIC CAVE CORAL by R. deSaUB8ure Cave coral 1s perhaps the most common speleothem other than stalactites and stalagmites. Yet this botryoidal type has been studied among the least of all speleothems, probably because of its complex conditions of growth and varied morphology. Still, we can definitely show that a sub-aertal type exists and 1s formed by seeping water. As an example, the heavily mineralized water at MOntezuma Well campground In Arlzona 1 haa caused Bub-aerial coral to grow on the vertical pipe of a drinking faucet. Field observations suggest that a BUb-aqueous type also exists, distinct from 25


7 \\ II the sub-aerial. The Bub-aqueous type 18 found growing below the water-lines .rn g our-a or rlmstone pools. An extremely high probability ma'y be poe tu Le.t.ed for the existence of this type. These remarks, however, serve only for the introduction of yet another variety which I term "pho to t.r-opd c cave coral. rl Phototropic coral 18 defined on the basis of its growth at Teoplsca Cavern in the State of Chlapas, Mexico. The specific mechanism responsible for the etfect haa not yet been established, but it 1s probable that the 11gh~ acts through the agency of a con~ trolling botanical medium such as algae ar mOBS. These organisms may simply induce suitable conoentrations of pH and carbon dioxide for the cave coral. There may also be the reciprocal relationship of the coral aiding in producing favorable carbon dioxide and pH conditions for the organic growth. Teopiaca Cavern, situated about 16¡ N. Lat., consists of a large flattened chamber approximately 175 x 125 feet and 40-50 feet in height. In its development, a period of quiet solution has been followed by extensive collapse. Stream effects are entirely lacking. That much of the breakdown took plaoe during the depositing episode may be inferred from the fallen stalaotiteand draperycovered blocks that have been buried by later stalagmitic deposita. The cave 11es almost entirely within the tWilight zone, where sunlight streams in directly from a large hillside opening (Fig. 2). Green algae are well developed throughout the entire chamber and completely obscure the surfaces of large stalagmites. stalactites, and columns near the entrance. As one proceeds inward, it becomes apparent that the algae, and also the cave coral deposits, are moat pronounced on the sides facing the entrance, While they are almost totally absent from the opposite or inward-directed surfaces. At one location far in the back, a definitive example is found (Fig. 1). Here, the cave ooral occurs along the side of a stalagmite whose front face is blocked from the light. The coral grows only along that eide receiving the light. Furthermore. the coral grows in a striated pattern which is aligned almost perfectly with the direction of the light rays from the entrance. The linkage between this variation of sub-aerial coral and the algae 1s elusive. The linkage between travertines and algae, however, has been discussed by several authors. Most of these, such as Escher in a study in west Java 2 regard the deposition as entirely mechanical. Steidtman in several papers on the travertine near Lexington, Virginia3,4. reached a similar conclusion, though somewhat more reluctantly. He found, however, a correlation With the dead foliage. Allen discovered no obvious relationship in studies at the Mammoth Spri~ areaS. Frat, on the 'Other hand, has written several papers between 1927 and 1934 in Which he points out the interaction With pH and carbon dioxide concentrations. In view of recent developments in specifying deposition variables, 80me of this material might well be re-evaluated. 26


Eigure 2. Entrance of Teopisca Cavern, Mexico. As yet, there have been no oonclusive indoor studies. I know of no probable phototropic inorganic mechanism which oould affect the deposition of the carbonate. It is quite obvious, however, that light-utilizing plante in a chlorophyll oycle which consumes carbon dioxide and sunlight would have an appreoiable effect on the carbon dioxide ooncentration and the pH. I, therefore, personally favor algae or other botanical agents as the intermediate stage in the evolution of phototropic coral. Such a mechanism would also serve to explain many outdoor and entrance cave coral depos Lt.aj for example, those at Samwel Cave, Shasta Co., California; Tonto Natural Bridge, Glla Co., Arizona; and the Calaveras Natural Bridges, Calaveras Co., California. These locations, though, do not offer conclusive evidence for the linkage of cava coral and light. Teopi8ca does. References: 1. LANGE, A. Studies on the origin of Cave Stud1es. #9. p. 39-53. 1957. 2. ESCHER, B. C. The travertine mounds of Nederland, vol. 5. p. 195-199. 211-213. Montezuma Well and Cave. Koeripan. 1932. Tropisch 27


3. STEIDTMAN, E. Travertine deposits near Lexington, Virginia. Science, vol. 80, p 162-163. 1934. 4. STEIDTMAN, E. Travertine depositing waters near Lexington, Virginia. Science, vol. 82, p. 333-334. 1935. 5. ALLEN, E. T. The agency of algae in the deposition of travertine and silica from thermal waters. American Journal of Science, vel. 28, p. 373-389. 1934. DISCUSSION There are three ideas which I would like to add to the above article: 1. "rr-opt e.n'' implies the turnino: of a structure (usually a plant) toward an orienting stimulus. Thus a plant or speleothem which merely grows in light ecologic distribution rather than phototropism; this might be the case with algae, for example. If, however, the structure aligns itself toward the light, we can validly call 1 t phototropic. 2. There is a school of cave thought that maintains that some or all speleothems are deposited through the action of organisms, even in total darkness. I would ask why chemical deposition in a sterile laboratory climate cannot produce the same forms; and if organisms are found incorporated in cave deposits, are they not simply incidental to it, like bones encased in calcite? In the examples given above, are the organisms essential to the enhancement of deposition in sunlight, where we would naturally expect evaporation to be encouraged by the warmth? I admit that casts of moss on cave wa.Ll a do occur, but this does not mean it necessarily participated in the deposition. Perhaps it forms merely a convenient moist, high-surface-area scaffold on Which the carbonate can deposit. 3. Finally, I would suggest that the deposition would be encouraged more by the heat of sunshine than by the light itself, and that unless organic activity could be proven, the aligned structures would more specifically be "thermotropic. II A. Lange EDITORIAL TRE PROSPECTS FOR CAVE-DWELLERS Currently the American press seems very concerned over an impending demand for blast and fallout shelters, which are intended to be our refuge in the event of nuclear attack. It 1s natural for the cave conservationist to cringe, knOWing well that more eco~omy-minded individuals and communities bent on survival will seek out ready-made haunts rather than invest in the artificial tomb in the backyard for counting out the final hours. The lnevit28


able result will be appropriation of eaves for shelters, their remodeling, modification of the cave environment to suit the comforts of the approriators; in short, the destruction of the cave and annihilation of its natural population. The preservation of wildlife and natural beauty, however, is hardly the argument to counter the demand for human survival and civilian defense. The cave defender must evaluate his looal caves as shelters, and be prepared to demonstrate their drawbacks with rationality rather than fervence. An outline of the points to be weighed follOws. The conclusions given are only rough generalities which will vary from region to region and cave to cave. These are the requirements Which caves must meet in order to provide protection from nuclear blast and radioactive fallout: 1. Accessibility. Prime targets for atta,ck would very likely be retaliatory bases; secondary targets, other military installations; and finally, strategic indust~ies, population centers, non-strategic industries, in that order. Availability of shelter thus depends greatly on one's distance from the primary targets, since we must anticipate that the Budden sunr ise" may be the only warning. Should we survive the blast, we must be able to reach the chosen shelter before a second assault on closer targets" and before fallout descends. Fallout from a blast within 50 miles may be expected to reach dangerous levels within a half-hour after detonation. Thus if a cave lies within a half-hour's walking distance of a person's likely location, it might be considered as a shelter. One must also ask himself whether or not the cave is likely to be still at his command When he arrives, considering that accessible caves are not normally very secret. In most areas of our countr~ caves are found far from the large cities and level plains of air bases that attract assault. In our densest cave regions: the central lowlands of Kentucky and Indiana, the Ozarka, and much of the Appalachians, the principal hazard to be expected is fallout. 2. Structural stability. The stress equilibrium of most solutional cave ceilings, particularly in denss marble, is an argument in favor of the use of caves as protection against blast hazard. Unstable chambers in flat-lying, incompetent rock may of course be readily ruled out. Depth is.desirable in a shelter, provided the route from the surface is a stable one. Caves which have withstood violent earthquakes (such as the New Madrid, Missouri shock of 1812) might bring a premium on the shelter market. 3. Fallout and radiation protection. Caves with roofs of three or more feet thickness would provide admirable shielding from rad~ ation, and in fact, most limestone caves possess much more overhead. Ceiling openings, of course, would have to be grouted. Mere overhangs or rockshelters would afford small protection from fallout unless their entrances were bUffetted with at loast three feet of earth or its equivalent mass. 29


4. Living space and storage. One estimate cites a minimum living space of ten square feet per person for a two week stay. This seems uncomfortably low. In additio~ storage space muat be allowed for food and water, aa well as waste. In short, the cave must be able to accomodate the number of persons planned for as well aa all those Who might intrude out of desperation. 5. Ventilation. Most limestone caves show active air circulation. If a cave possesses only one apparent entrance, this must be temporarily closed to prevent radioactive dust from passing in. Smaller air ducts would probably serve as traps for the radioactive material. A smoke bomb released within would readily test the openness of the cave rock. Portals which pass a dangerous amount of air would need to be grouted; whereas, caves lacking adequate convection with the portal closed would require the installation of a suitable ventilating system. 6. Radio reception. One's schedule of survival activity could very well depend on the instructions received over Conelrad stations on battery-powered radio, so their reception should be tested underground. Conelrad frequencies may be expected to penetrate 100 feet or more of rock. If they do not, an outdoor antenna would be required. 7. Water. Moat caves contain dripping or flowing water, passing from the surfaoe to the underground realm through a delaying system of porous mantle and rock fractures. If the water source is known, the delay time can be established by tests. The time may be anything from an hour or less up to years. If the delay proves to be less than the expected period of occupancy, then provision must be made for storing Bome of the surplus water, or importing a supply. Incoming water should be periodically monitored for radioactivity, and it goes without saying that the supply must be hygienlnally safe. In eaves lacking water, room must be allowed for its storage. 8. Equabilitv. Except for caves in the southwestern United States. where underground conditions are found that are naturally comfortable for human occupa.tton, most U.S. caverns are cold and damp, reflecting the mean annual temperature of the surrounding region. Cave explorers know the discomfort of a long wait underground in a typical temperature of 50 0 F and 99% relative humidity, and are the last to recommend a two week or longer session of waiting out a storm, huddled in overcoats around a primus stove. In addition to the likelihood of common illnesses catching hold in such a congested, inhospitable environment, there is the recently discovered danger that prolonged exposure to fungal spores and bat guano in some caves oan induoe histoplasmosis and hydrophobia respectively, both fatal diseases. Thus heUth measures must be carefully planned. At least parte of the cave will require heat' ing, and it will be necessary to dispose of fumes and waste. In summary, caves can be found Which will prOVide good structural protection against blast effects, shielding from radiation and fallout, air, water, and living space for a planned number of 30


occupants. To their disfavor, caves are not normally accessible in target areas; they are generally well-known locally, so that overcrOWding and undersupply may result; and most sites are unhealthful and inhospitable environments for prolonged stays. These detriments must be carefully considered before any cave and its life are disrupted, either as a private or community project. For as we observe around us the progressive encroachment of defense installations on the wilderness, both above and below ground, We are confronted by the prospect of a war in which much of the devastation preceeds the conflict; if in fact, the conflict ever materializes. Let us prepare, but with discretion, not hysteria. Arthur L. Lange, C.R.A. * * ANALYTICAL REVIEW GINET, RENE. Ecologie, ethologie, at ph1podes Gammar1des hypoges). Annale. fasc. 1,2, p. 127-376. 1960. b1olog1e de N1pharsue (Amde Speleolo61e, tome 1~ This treatise, eight years in preparation, 1s in my opinion the most significant biospeleological stUdy to appear in recent times. Ginet has organized from laboratory and field observations and the literature an exhaustive account of the European amphipods, particularly Niphargus orolnus vlre1. Such difficult problems as the r~ lating of animals to their environment, distinguishing betweenspe; cies closely related, rearing of cave animals under laboratory con' ditions, habits, life CYCles, developmental stages, and ranges of adaptation for adults and young are some of the issues treated. By means of charts, diagrams and tables, the experiments, teohniques, and equipment are documented, making the work a standard reference for persons undertaking studies of this nature. Ginet acknowledges that the work could not have been realized without access to a subterranean laboratory, an institution Which we lack 1n the Un1ted States. I feel that th1s 1e a majorom1es1on in American cave biology. Though many taxonomic problems must yet be overcome before the North American subterranean fauna are adequately understood, 1t 1s a m1stake to th1nk that 1t 1e too early to extend investigations beyond taxonomy and distribution. In are; cent sympos1um (Amer1can M1dland Natura11st, vol. 64, #1, p. 1-160, July 1960) the quant1ty of Amer1can fauna already descr1bed 1s example enough to demonstrate the point. But in order to advance, an underground laboratory needs to be established. Richard E. Graham, C.R.A. 31


PROCEEDIN:J S News: The 41st annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists met June 12-16, 1961, at the University of Illinois, The titles of the articles pertaining to cave Bcience are listed here as an indication of the cave research currently underway by members of the organization: Arthur H. Harris and James S. Finley, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque: "Late Pleistocene-Recent mammalian fauna of Isleta Cave, New Mexico." James B. Cope and W. Wilson Baker, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana: "Results of three years' banding in a Myotte luclfugus colony in Indiana." John S. Hall, Albright College, Reading, Penn8ylvani~, and Nixon 'Nilson, Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana: lISeaeonal Populations and movements of wY0t1s grlsgecens in Kentucky and and some surrounding states. w, H. Davis and H. B. Hitchcock, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont: "Pr-e.Ltmt.ner-y studies on some unique aspects of a po pulation of bats in a Vermont cave. 1I Richard F. MYers, Central Missouri State College, Warrensburg: liThe migration and distribution of Ozark Plateau bats of the genus Myotis." Clyde F. Herreid, II, Pennsylvania State University, Universitr, Park. "Cave and body temperatures of Mexican free-tailed bats.' CAVE NOTES men B. Kaplan editor CAVE NOTES is a publication of Caw Research Associates, presenting shor-t, ar~ tiele8 relaMng to speleology and karst studies, with l'8viewe and d1ecuuion of :recent work in this field. Contributione in the form of artlclee or letters are welcolll8d. All contributions 8Ubnitted should be typed, double-spaced with at least a one-inch margin. Subscriptionll to CAVE NOTES are available for $1.00 per ~r (6 issues) or on exchange. Mid-year subscriptions l'tICelve the earlier numbers of that wlUlllll. Correspondence, contributions, and I!IUbscriptions to CAVE NOTES should be addressed to CAVE RI!'.S&\RQI. ASSOCIATES, 19W Berkeley Way, Berkeley 4, Cal.1tomia.

Phototropic cave coral / R. deSaussure --
Discussion / A. Lange --
Editorial the prospects for cave-dwellers --
Analytical reviews / Richard E. Graham --
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