Caves and karst: Research in speleology

Caves and karst: Research in speleology

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


Subjects / Keywords:
Inner Space Cavern (Texas, United States) ( 30.607778, -97.687778 )
Geology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
30.607778 x -97.687778


General Note:
Contents: The detection of prehistoric earthquakes form fractured cave structures / Arthur L. Lange -- Discussion -- G. Platten, 1889-1970 -- The first specimens of taricha rivularisand aneides flavipunctatusfrom a cave / Lee Christianson and Paul P. Coambs. 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. 12, no. 2 (1970)
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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K26-01044 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.1044 ( USFLDC Handle )
13724 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0008-8625 ( ISSN )

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CA YES AND KARST Research in Speleology Volume 12. No.2 Ma,chfAp,;1 1970 TIMING ~ 2 ~ w z z 3 ~ x u 4 < ~ ~ 5 0 6 ~audio 02.0 ~03.0 ~04.o 05.0 06,0 TIMING (sec) pARRIVAL S-ARRIVAL Frontispiece. Portion of a seismogram of a central Nevada earthquake, showing the vertical velocity component at 5 seismometers of a small array. Compressional (P) and shear (S) waves are present, (from WESTPHAL & LANGE, 1967) THE DETECTION OF PREHISTORIC EARTHQUAKES FROM FRACTURED CAVE STRUCTURES by ARTHUR 1. LANGE, Cave Research Associates It has long been known that earthquakes play an important role in cave generation by producing fractures along which excavating water, frost and plants can gain access to the rock. Earthquake shocks can also affect the cave after it bas evolved by shattering sedimentary deposits and speleothems and inducing rockfall even to the point of roof collapse. Caves in seismic zones and formed in incompetent rock (especially horizontal beds) are most vulnerable to tectonic disruption.' In recent articles, Bodo Schillat (1965, 1969) proposes that the fractured speleothems of caves not only evidence former earth shocks" but also-s-in the orientation of displaced fragments-may iridicate the direction of epicenter. Furthermore, regrowth on the remains can be radiocarbon-dated to help place the events in time. A fallen stalagmite can thus serve as a crude seismoscope or displacement gauge of former seismicity. This technique-though not new to seismologists, who have been measuring toppled tombstones for years (see below) -is promising when applied to well preserved cave structures and might permit us to identify and date catastrophic events of prehistory. Schillat asserts that a stalagmite sheared by a shock originating from a volcanic explosion falls in the direction opposite that of the local ground motion assumed radial from the source; if the fragment has not rolled or been otherwise disturbed, one need only measure the azimuth of repose to ascertain the source direction (Figure 1). Where deposi* He does not overlook the role thaf local subsidence and slumping play in fracturing. 9


CAVES ANl) KARST CAVES AND KARST CAVES ~ND KARST is a publication of Cave Research Associates. Subscriptions are available for $2.50 per year (six issues) or $6.00 for Volumes 12 through 14. 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. 94546 Editor: Arthur L. lange Associate Editor: Alan D. Howard Editors: R. deSaussure, J. F. Quinlan, ,Sylvia F. Graham, Mary L Hege, Lee Christianson Copyright 1970, Cave Research Associates tion has cemented the fragment to the floor or produced new growth on the stump, the minimum age of the event can be dated. An assemblage of such traces in a cave or cave area, showing consistencies in azimuth and age would comprise reasonable evidence by which to identify the earthquake. In the Langenfeld Cave of Lower Saxony, Germany (52 0 12' N. Lat.; 9 0 18' E. Long.) Schiller recognizes 3 predominant azimuths of displacement, which he relates to a series of shocks accompanying volcanic eruptions back to 30,000 yea,rs ago. Two of the azimuths correspond to known volcanoes (130¡ z Santorin in the Aegean Sea; 225 0 ::::: Laacher See in the Eifel of Germany). The third (245 0 ) he ascribes to unidentified volcanism in the Mid-Atlantic Rise. Thus far, however, an insufficient munber of age-dated fragments has been provided by which to judge statistically the "reliability of the technique. Two suppositions adopted by Schillat deserve careful scrutiny; namely, that the fractured stalagmite falls in Iine with the source and that the sources corresponding to the 3 principle azimuths cited are volcanoes and nor simply tectonic earthquakes. The presence of small shocks associated with dormant as well as active volcanoes is well known. In the vicinity of former volcanic fields in the U.S. I have recorded numerous microearthquakes (shocks of magnitude 2 or less). Around active volcanoes, the frequency of occur~~nce and magnitude of seismicity are much greater and increase with the onset ,of an eruption; hence, the monitoring of seismicity around volcanoes is used to predict eruptions. The relationship of volcanism to large earthquakes, however, is another matter. Richter (1958: p. 158) discusses irthus: It is not asto~ishing that in Mallet's time [mid-Nineteenth Century] large earthquakes were com~oo:ly ettribured to volcanic action, perhaps at a late stage and not manifesting itself by eruptions. The ~otion sti~l persists popularly, and the issue is often confused by attributing all earthquakes 10 volcanic areas to volcanic causes; this is almost certainly incorrect. There are at least four groups of such shocks: (1) superficial explosions; (2) shocks at shallow depths of th~ order of a few kilometers, probably associated with magmatic movements or oth~r volcanic processes; (3) ~ectonic earthquakes at their usual depth ranging in a given region from 15 or 25 to 60 kilometers: (4) earthquakes in the intermediate depth class, usually neat 100' to 150 kilometers. He goe~ on to cit; examples of large earthquakes coincident with volcanic eruptions. Those pr~duc1fig d~mage elsewhere than in the immediate vicinity of the volcano show evidence of being tectonic earthquakesrepresenting fault movement at depth (Ibid, p. 159-163). An earthquake o,f tectonic origin (Magnitude 8.2) near Sanrorin volcano in the Aegean on 26 June 1926 occurred at a revised depth of lOOkm. This and a shallower large shock (9 July 1,956) were nor accompanied by eruptions. The great tectonic arcs around the wo.rl~ ~hat yield large ea~~hquakes also have permitted magmatic venting as volcanoes, resulting 10 the so-called Circle of Fire around the Pacific. The number of earthquakes along these arcs, however, greatly exceeds the number of eruptions, as is the rule throughout the world. Hence, most of the fracturing observed in caves must be attributed to tectonic earth10


VOLUME 12, NO.2 r. ~ I I (~ I I -, ... I \ -, I V "', Y"'-/ ... \, t> *jer I'M c:JJ~C!D @B 8 "'-.J \ l A B r c \ LA Figure 1. A) Direction of ground motion; B) Stalagmite fall in line with shock; C) Cemented fragment; D) Datable regrowth on stump. (from SCHlllAT,1965) Figure 2. Alternate positions of repose of a shattered stalagmite relative to an earthquake epicenter, due to A) compressional or Rayleigh waves, B) shear waves. quakes (or local subsidence), and only in cases where dating of the fracture coincides with a known eruption or where some other clue such as intercalated ash is present can the breakage be associated with a volcanic explosion. It is conceivable chat volcanism in the Laacher See region, about 200km to the southwest, could have produced fracturing in the Langenfeld Cave; whether or not surface explosions at Samarin, over 2000km distant and the even more distant Mid-Atlantic Rise could have participated is questionable. The great Lisbon tectonic earthquake of 1755, also about 2000km distant, is reported by Schillat to have caused damage in the vicinity of Langenfeld Cave. Since its magnitude has been estimated between 8Y2 and 8% (RICHTER, 1958: 105) a corresponding order of magnitude must be ascribed to the Samarin. volcanic eruption in order to account for effects at this distance. The devastating earthquakes centered near New Madrid, Missouri (1811-1812), 3 of which are estimated to have exceeded magnitude 8~ were felt in New England, 1500km distant. More recent earthquakes in this area ate known to be fault movements at depths of 30km or greater. The recording of azimuths of fallen objects has long been applied in attempts to determine the epicenters of earthquakes. Robert Mallet (1862) in his classic study of the Neapolitan earthquake of 1857 presumed that the shock was of volcanic, explosive origin and, hence, productive of longitudinal (compressional) :waves but not transverse, or shear, waves (Today we know that shear waves do arise from nearly point sources, since they appear in the seismograms of nuclear explosions) ". He catalogued overturned and fallen objects as well as cracks in buildings in the expectation that the line of fall of the objects would fix the epicenter and that the cracks would parallel the wavefront. The principal center of convergence of his vectors, however, fell about 50km distant from the center of highest intensity. Richter (1958: 34) cites Thomas Clements' study of the overthrow of tombstones (analogous to Schillat's stalagmites) resulting from the 1933 earthquake in Long Beach, California: ... The lines of direction converged near Compton, north of Long Beach; but, when t~e motion was assumed to be transverse, and perpendiculars were drawn accordingly, rhe lines converged near the instrumental epicenter far to the southeast. The most commonly observed phases in wave trains from local and regional earthquakes are illustrated in the seismograms of the Frontispiece and Figure 4. Particle motion in the compressional, or Pcwave is longitudinal (as in sound waves). Motion in the shear, or Sweve is transverse (like a water wave) and polarized in a plane depending on the source mechanism: leading to verfically polarized (SV) or horizontally polarized (SH) shear waves. The Rayleigh wave travels along the ground surface: its motion is retrograde in vertical orbits. II


CAVES AND KARST I .' :r;o;o .. Figure 3. Tombstones in a Richmond, Utah cemetarv, sketched by the author several days after a magnitude 5.5 earthquake occurred almost under the site (30 August 1962). The crowns of both have toppled; the column on the left has shifted on its pedestal; that on the right has rotated. j Many other studies have been made on the displacements of monwnents, with the discovery that in the epicentral area, rotation plays an important role. Hodgson (1925), in mapping the fall of tombstones after the St. Lawrence (Quebec) earthquake of 1925, found consistent clockwise rotation in several cemetaries, but no consistency in the direction of fallen monuments. Gordon, er al. (1970), in a study of the effects of a magnitude 5.2 ~ 6 earthquake at Dale, Illinois, found rotations of tombstones and furniture in the southwest quadrant (re. epicenrer ) to be counter-clockwise; those in the northwest and southeast, clockwise. At Little Springs, I-lkm west of Dale, 6 of about 400 tombstones were thrown down (in general in the direction of slope of their pedestals) while 13 others were rotated clockwise. They attempt to explain the rotations as the result of elliptical particle motion due to nearly simultaneous arrivals of strong horizontal shear and "Rayleigh-type" waves (see also Figure 3). The complex motion of the ground during the passage of a wave train can thus lead to misinterpretation of the azimuthal evidence, depending on whether the displacement was primarily brought about by compressional, shear, or surface (Rayleigh) waves". The compressional wave, being of highest frequency and acceleration, attentuates rapidly away from the hypocenter; the shear waves of lower frequency but higher amplitude are more persistent; the Rayleigh waves--of still lower frequency-travel great distances, produce seiches, and probably account for the damage remote from the epicenter. If Schillar's correlations of stalagmite failure with the Laacher See and Samarin volcanoes are correct, the retrograde motion of Rayleigh waves is most likely responsible (Figure 2). An added complication arises when horizontal refraction of wave phases occurs across lithologic boundaries. In my own experience, in the simultaneously monitoring of earthquake aftershocks, using several sets of seismometer arrays of 300m radius, I have 12


VOLUME 1;1, NO.2 o 2 3 4 TIME seconds 5 6 Figure 4. Seismogram of a small Idaho earthquake showing the compressional (P), shear (5), and probably surface (R) waves at three vertical component seismometers. found deviations in wave propogarion vectors up to 45 0 or greater where discontinuities in seismic velocities separate the arrays and sources; particularly in sites on low velocity alluvial valleys separating crystalline mountain ranges. As a result of the preceding discussions, we have delimited Schillat's technique and illuminated some of the pitfalls to which uncaurious application might lead. Above all, it becomes critical in each observation to establish the wave type responsible for frecruring: misinterpretation can result in azimuthal errors of 90¡. One must consider also, in the case of compressional andsurface waves, that though the stalagmite falls in line with the wave propagation vector, its disecrion toward or away from thesource depends on which phase of the wave cycle predominates (a possible error of 180 0 ). The geometry of fracture and, hence, the direction of fall may be influenced not only by the ground motions but also by the attitude of the stalagmite, recalling the sloping pedestals of tombstones observed by Gordon, er al Horizontal wave refraction must be taken into account when deep alluvial valleys adjoin the cave rock. Certainly, correlating of data among different caves, which Schillat calls for, is the most effective way to dispell the ambiguities and prove rhe method. Schillat's technique, despite its problems, deserves serious study in the United States, with a view toward recognizing prehistoric seismicity. I am thinking particularly of the caves of the Ozark plateau adjacent to the Mississippian embayment, seat of the 1811-12 earthquakes cited above-the largest known in contiguous U.S. Surely these shocks that diverted the course of the Mississippi River should have produced fracturing in the local caverns. We should also examine caves in the seismic Shenandoah Valley, the Basin-Range province, and the environs of Mrs. Shasta and Mazama in the Cascades. Along the famous San Andreas fault zone of California, on the other hand, limestone cave development is too sparce to be helpful in determining its former movements. Particularly instructive would be investigations of the effects of large underground nuclear explosions on the features of limestone caves in the vicinity of the Nevada Test Sire. The understanding of the effects of such well located contemporary seismic events could greatly facilitate the interpretation of the wreckage from prehistoric times. References GORDON, D. W., T. J. BENNETI, R. B. ){ERltMANN & A. M. ROGERS (1970). Th, southcentral Illinois earthquake of November 9, 1968: macroseism ic studies. Seismological.Society of America, Bulletin 60 (3): 953971. 13


CAVES AND KARST HODGSON, 'E. A. (1925). The rotation effects of the St. Lawrence earthquake of February 28, 1925. Royal Ast1'onomh"al Society of Canada, lou-mat 19:' 169-178. MALLET, ROBERT (1862). Great Neapolitan Earthquake of 1857, The First Principles of Observational Seismology. Chapman & Hall, London, 2 vol. RICHTER, CHARLES F. (1958). Elementary Seismology. Freeman & Co., San Francisco. 768p. SCHILLAT, BODO (1965). Nachweis von Brdbeben in Hohlen. AufschluSJ 16 (6): 134-136. SCHILLAT, BODO (1969). Volcanic ash horizons in layered dripsrone and cave sediments. Caves and Kant 11 (6): 41-48. WESTPHAL, W. H. & A. L. LANGE (1967). Local seismic monitoring Fairview Peak area, Nevada. Seismological Society of America, Bulletin 57 (6): 1279-1298. DISCUSSION Urn meine Ancworr nichr zu sehr zu verz6gern, mochte ich nur ganz kurz einige Bemerkungen rnachen und fugen Ihnen die Kopie einer Arbeit van Professor Fonton (Frankreich) bei, die er mir ktirzlich ... zusandte. a) Vulkanausbriiche selbst entwickeln meist nut eine geringe Bebenenergie, Ausnahmen dabei sind wahrsheinlich explosive Vorgange, bei denen kilomererdicke Decksreine durchschossen wurden (pipes). b) Sie konnen jedoch als Folgeerscheinung von starken tektonischen Bewegungen durchaus auftreren. Bodo Schillat 2104 Hamburg 92, Lupinenacker 6 In order not to delay my reply, permit me to make several brief remarks and enclose a copy of an article by Professor Fonron (France) that he recently ... sent rne'". a) Volcanic eruptions themselves produce at best only a small amount of earthquake energy; exceptions thereto are probably explosive events in which kilometer-thick overlying rocks have been ejected (pipes). b) They [fractured stalagmites] nevertheless can arise purely as the manifestation of strong tectonic movements. [Translation-Ed.] G. PLATTEN, 1889 1970 It is with deep regret that we report the death of Gerald Platten earlier this year. M!. Platten resided in Rorherfield, England and was Editor of the British Caver since its founding in 1930. He was a member of Cave Research Associates since 1967. de FONTON, M. E. (1968). Problemes poses par les blocs d'effondrement des stratigraphies pnfhistoriques du Wurm a "Holocene dans le Midi de la france. Association Francaise p011r l'J!tude dtt Q1fater'f;aire, Bulletin, 1968 (4): 289-296. (In this paper, the author concludes that rock collapse in the caves studied was due to earthquakes connected with volcanic activity. Ed.) 1.4


VOLUME 12, NO.2 ..,..-. 1. em Figure 1. Taricha rivularis (Red-bellied Newt). (Sketched by Deann Christianson) THE FIRST SPECIMENS OF T ARICHA RIVULARIS AND ANEIDES FLAVIPUNCTATUS FROM A CAVE by LEE CHRISTIANSON and PAUL P. COAMBS'* Unlike the caves of the eastern half of the United States,' the caves of California are not noted for their populations of vertebrates. Ooe finds no troglobiric vertebrates and only a few troglophiles. Funkhouser (1951) and Dearolf (1956) report Triturm sierrae (Taricha,torosa sierrae, California Newt) and Aneides l. lugt~bris (Arboreal Salamander) from caves in the Mother Lode. Raymond deSaussure reports seeing a "newt" in Bower Cave, Mariposa County. Danehy (1952)' reports that a Triturus sierrae was collected in a Calavaras County cave, identified by .J. W. Funkhouser and J. M. Savage and deposited in the Stanford Natural History Museum, Stanford University. The Stanford amphibian collection has since been moved to the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, where a search by curator S. C. Anderson failed to locate the specimen. The only other mention of a member of this genus in a cave was T aricha ri',:ularis (Red-bellied Newt) in Nigger Hole Cave in greenstone (unpublished data, California Division of Mines & Geology) of the Francisian formation in Mendocino County (IRWIN, 1960). There was no mention of any collection. The entrance to Nigger Hole Cave is a sink hole that opens onto a landing approximately 8m from the top of the hole. Two passageways lead down from the landing. The northern passageway: slopes down for approximately 10m and has tWO openings into a vertical shaft which drops about 25m to the bottom of the cave. The southern passageway slopes down and terminates in about Bm. Both the landing and the passageways are covered with leaf litter and twigs. On 3 April 1969, the authors and Bill Hall collected four T. riv1tlaris and two Aneides flavipunctatus (Black Salamander) from Nigger Hole Cave. These Aneides specimens have been misplaced. A:ll of the collected salamanders were from JUSt inside the dark zone among the litter and in crevices along the wall of the south passageway. Taricha sp. were observed by Christianson at various points down to the bottom of the vertical shaft. The authors reexamined the cave for vertebrates on 6 September 1969 and collected one small T. rivrdaris in the litter of the south passageway. One medium-sized black-colored salamander was seen in a hole but could not be extracted. On 26 March 1970, the authors and Bill Hall collected five T. 1'ivultwis and one A. f!avipunctatus from the south passageway. The specimens of T. rivula1'is and A. flavipmlctatm represent the first substantiated record of these species from a cave. ~' ~. :.l-' 15


CAVES AND KARST Additional vertebrates observed within the cave include Crotalus viridus (Western Rattlesnake), Eumeces skiltoniamls (Western Skink), and Plecotus townsendi (Townsend's Big-eared Bat). Specimens have been deposited in the collections of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, under the following catalog numbers: CAS 123690E. skiltonianus; CAS 123691 through CAS 123700-T. rivularis; CAS 123701-A. flavipunctatus; 15287-P. townsendi. References DANEHY, E. A. (1952). A list of life collected in California caves. National Speleological Society, Strm/of'd Grotto Monthly Report, 2 (8) : 81-86. DEAROLF, K. (1956). Survey of North American cave vertebrates. Pennsylvania Academy 0/ Sciences Proceedings, 30: 201210. FUNKHOUSER, J. W. (1951). The cave salamanders of California. National Speleological Society, Bulletin, 13: 46-49. IRWIN, W. P. (1960). Geologic reconnaissance of the Northern Coast Ranges and Klamath Mountains, California, with a summary of the mineral resources. California Division 0/ Mines, Bulletin 179. Secretary's note On October 1, 1969, the Board of Trustees and staff of Cave Research Associates held their annual meeting. The following officers were elected to serve for the year 1970: President: Louis A. Payen Vice President: Arthur 1. Lange Secretary: R. deSaussure Treasurer: W. B. Martin 16

Contents: The detection of prehistoric earthquakes form
fractured cave structures / Arthur L. Lange --
Discussion --
G. Platten, 1889-1970 --
The first specimens of
taricha rivularisand
aneides flavipunctatusfrom a cave / Lee Christianson
and Paul P. Coambs.
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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