I N T E R C O M Volume 50, Issue 2 March April 2014 Iowa Grotto P.O. Box 228 Iowa City, IA 52244 Grotto Website: www.caves.org/grotto/iowa Coldwater Cave Project website: http://www.caves.org/project/coldwater Membership Dues : due January 1, $15.00 per year, includes INTERCOM and Hotline subscriptions. INTERCOM subscriptions only are $13.00 per year. The Iowa Grotto reserves the right to decline membership during or after a probationary period. Due Dates : for submission of material for publication in the INTERCOM is May. 1st. Send material for publication, e mail, disk or hard copy to: Editor and Typist: Scott Dankof 515 986 3219 410 SW Hickory Circle Grimes IA. 50111 E mail email@example.com Coordinate photographs for publication in the INTERCOM with Scott Dankof, the INTERCOM editor. Cave Rescue : Contact the Kentucky Disaster and Emergency Services Central Dispatch at 502 564 7815 for cave emergencies only in the NCRC Central Region of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Iowa Grotto Meetings : are the fourth Wednesday of each month, third Wednesday in December at 7:30 p.m. in Room 125 or thereabouts of Trowbridge Hall on the campus of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. Cover Photo: Night shot at Steamboat Cave at the Apostle Islands Ice Caves. Photo by Scott Dankof. National Speleological Society P. O. Box 228 Iowa City, Iowa 52244 Chairman Ed Klausner Vice Chairman/Treasurer John Donahue Secretary Elizabeth Miller Volume 50 Issue 2 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Trip reports: Lewis, Shelter and Spring Caves 48 Lewis Cave 49 Powder Mill Research Center 50 Lewis Cave and Turtle Shell Pit 51 Lewis Cave 52 Mush Pot Cave 52 Golden Dome Cave 53 Hardin Butte Caves 53 Fleener Chimneys and Caves 56 Captain Jacks Stronghold 57 Ross Lava Flow Caves 57 Schonchin Butte Caves 57 Hardin Butte Caves 58 Skull Cave 61 Hidden Slot Estavalle Cave 62 Big Mouth Cave 63 Pond Spring Cave 63 Tunnel Slot Cave 63 Elbow Cave 64 Pond Spring Cave 64 Tunnel Slot Cave 64 Allie Spring and Mill Creek Cave 65 Breakdown and Fitzpatrick Cave 66 Cleveland Cave 67 Tortoise Cave 68 Morel Cave 68 Unnamed Cave 68 69 Shelter Caves 70 Allie Spring and Mill Creek Cave 70 Onyx Cave, Onyx Cave Annex, Slaugh ter and Conical Sinks 73 45
46 Sutherland Cave 74 Lewis Cave 75 ___________Calendar____________ May Grotto Meeting May 28th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. June Grotto Meeting June 25th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. July Grotto Meeting July 23rd Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. Iowa Grotto Summer Picnic August 2nd in Central Park, Jones County. Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting Date 4/26/14 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 7:30 PM with 10 members and no guests present. Prior to the meeting, Mike Lace gave a presentation on Caving in Haiti, including the improvement project in Grotte Marie Jeanne. Minutes of the February 26 regular meeting were read and approved. Trip reports : Mike, Chris Beck, John Donohue, Jim Roberts and Scott Dankof went to Kemling Cave for a bat count. While Scott, Mike and Jim were counting in the East section, Chris and John went down to the Whippy Dip passage which was open as well as the Southwest Arterial. More than 100 bats were counted and all bats appeared healthy. Future trips : Four grotto members are registered for the NSS convention in Huntsville, AL. Mike Killen from the DM Register will not be going to Coldwater Cave in April since it is Easter weekend. John Donahue is planning a Kemling trip for further work past the Whippy Dip. Ed Klausner is planning a late spring survey trip to Berome Moore Cave in Missouri with the Cave Research Foundation. Old Business Due to new rules of Jones County, all members who attend the grotto picnic will need to certify that they have followed decontamination procedures for cave gear of the US Fish and Wildlife Service before entering Indian Bluff Cave. New Business The grotto has run out of volumes 3 and 4 of the map books. Members agreed to put the cave books on CD with PDFs of the cave maps and post card collection that was given to the Grotto after his death has been sorted by state and Ed has scanned the Iowa postcards. Members who are interested in scanning some of the postcards should let him know. Ed raised the idea of making the Intercom available in electronic format. After discussion it was agreed that all members will be asked for input in the next issue of the Intercom. There were no Announcements. The meeting was adjourned at 8:28 PM. Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting Date 4/26/14 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 7:40 PM with 5 members and 3 guests present. Prior to the meeting, Ed Klausner gave a presentation on historic postcards of Iowa caves from the Iowa Grotto collection. Minutes of the March regular meeting were read and approved. : The grotto has $4571.62 in the general fund, $75.85 in the Coldwater fund and $115 in petty cash. Trip reports : Visitors Sam Saltzman, Adam Tross and Brennan Van Alderwerelt reported on a trip to Indian Bluff cave on Easter weekend. Mike Lace, Scott Dankof and Jordan Kjome went to Coldwater Cave the same weekend. Future trips : May 10 is the tentative date for a Berome Moore Cave trip with Missouri CRF. There will be a Kemling Cave trip around May 3. Contact Ed Klausner if interested. Caves to be visited during the August Phil Larue will be leading a scout trip around that time and we discussed whether or not they should
47 camp out in the same area and visit caves with us during the picnic. Old Business There has been no update from the Iowa DNR about their new White Nose Regulations. Steve Barnett has contacted us about Big Breathing Cave and others in the Big Spring Watershed in Clayton County. No grotto members at the meeting had been in those caves. Bob Storlie is unable to attend one of our meetings to talk about Mystery Cave survey due to his recent injuries. Joe Dixon will give a presentation on his Iowa bat work at the May 28 meeting. There is a possible lead checking trip in Allamakee County in the next few months. New Business The US Forest Service, Eastern Region, has issued new White Nose Syndrome guidelines closing all forest Service Caves except when a permit is issued for scientific work. Announcements : None The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 P.M.
48 ________________ Announcement _____________ New Delivery Method for the Intercom Printing and mailing the Intercom costs more than the $15 yearly grotto dues. In order to save trees, save the grotto money, and have a publication that has all color pictures (rather than one color cover per year), the Intercom can be delivered electronically. Many other grottos have gone to electronic publications and we receive exchanges from other grottos in this form. If you would like to receive the Intercom electronically instead of a paper copy, please send me your email address ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and you will receive the Intercom in pdf format by email. Thanks. ____________ Trip Reports___________ Lewis, Shelter & Spring Cave Ripley County, Missouri March 14, 2014 By Mark Jones Ken Grush and I drove down to Ripley County planning on setting up for the gating project during the next ten days at Lewis Cave (RIP001). As we approached the spring resurgence of Lewis Cave we saw Derrick and Rick Norris in the process of yanking out the cement foundation in front of the cinderblock wall serving as the current ineffective cave barrier. Their work was made much easier by stretching a log chain from the cave seventy five feet down to the road to a four
49 reached the cave Derek had tied into the cinderblock wall and with a quick tug from the truck sections of the wall were tumbling down. It took us just thirty minutes to jerk out the majority of the wall. Once the wall was down Derek and Rick packed up their gear for the day while Ken and I along with Bill Copeland began moving cinderblocks down the hill to be picked up later in the project. It took less than ninety minutes to clean up the gate site and carry forty blocks down to the roadside. A fault) were also gathered from the demolition. I wandered a short distance into the cave and saw two cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ) under the decomago. The stream was flowing at a seasonal rate resulting in a total sump downstream and iffy potential past the upstream crawl. With our job done and plenty of daylight remaining we called it a day at Lewis Cave and hiked down to survey nearby Shelter Cave (RIP004). Although on the books, this cave to rectify this problem before we became involved later in the week with the regating of Lewis Cave. Following Barren Creek downstream along a rocky hillside on the left quickly brought us to the twin openings of Shelter Cave. Ken read backsight and shot photographs, Bill supervised and I read foresights and kept book. Our first shot established the relationship of the cave 27 feet and 22 above Barren Creek. The first station was at the left entrance which was eighteen feet wide by five feet tall. A four foot thick column separates it from the right entrance which was half the size. A twenty three foot shot took us to the back of the cave and we were able to tie this into the other entrance with a thirty foot reading. A cute four foot dome was situated on the left wall while a six foot deep, twelve inch high room bulged out on the right. Cave formation noted at the back of the cave included popcorn, stalactites and draperies. An eastern phoebe ( Sayornis phoebe ) nest and flies ( Diptera ) were the only signs of c ave fauna seen on this visit. Total survey time was 55 minutes. Our final task for the day was to reconnoiter a promising spring cave downstream from Shelter Cave. In January the water was much too high and cold to push but we vowed to return when things settled down. Since Barren Creek was relatively dry we figured we had a good chance of determining the potential for this lead. Breakdown along the bluff indicated the possible spring entrance to a new Ripley County cave. Ken crawled ahead on the breakdown rocks to measure the distance and determine if we could continue deeper. We estimated there is nearly forty feet of passage in a three foot high watercrawl. It appeared wetsuits will be needed to penetrate beyond this point although the cool breeze blowing out of the entrance may encourage us to return very soon. With no known caves in this ridge it would have the opportunity to be a significant cave. Stay tuned. Lewis Cave (RIP001) Ripley County, Missouri March 15, 2014 By Mark Jones campsite we were ready to tackle the floor preparation for the gating of Lewis Cave (RIP001). After unloading equipment at the campsite we (Jim Cooley, Bill Copeland, Ken Grush and I.) toted implements of destruction up to the debris of the former cave gate to continue the preparation work. Our task was made much easier with the realization that the remaining rocks and cinderblock pieces would be needed for fill around the base of the new gate. With the old gate out, the gears were turning in rebuilding an appropriate gate. Jim determined that some of the rock and
50 soil on the left needed to be cut digging screen and a bit of landscaping was needed on the right. I took on digging out the left side, Ken worked on the right, Bill cleaned up the entrance area and Jim supervised. Cutting down the floor proved relatively easy with no real problems arising and the rest of the crew made short work of their tasks. Our final demolition for the day was to break the metal door frame from a large chuck of concrete. Eventually our brute strength and superior intelligence was no match for the lump of concrete and we succeeded in wrestling the door frame from its cold grasp. With our work almost done I volunteered to take Bill back to the first watercrawl. He had been in the cave in the summer of 2012 but wanted to get another taste of the cave. Our first stop was at the pile of boards that serves as a salamander sanctuary near the entrance. Three cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ) were found on this visit. The water was impounded behind two constrictions further in the cave resulting in deeper pools just behind them. Bill was interested in the Salem cave crayfish ( Cambarus hubrichti in the cave and because of the clear stream we did discover four of these albino crawdads. Two bats ( Myotis sp .) were found clinging to the ceiling near the trail. wetsuited up we finished the tour at the beginning of the watercrawl at station A27 before returning to the entrance. Jim and Ken were putting the final grade to the slope as Bill and I exited the cave. on target with having Lewis Cave gated by next weekend. Before leaving the area Ken and I took a look at the spring resurgence and found the water flowing at a good clip with dozens of epigean fish swimming around in a pool. Total gate prep time was three hours and an hour was spent exploring the cave. Before returning to the cabin for the evening Ken and I stopped by Ripjust down the road from Lewis Cave along Barren Creek. Today Barren Creek was living up to its name, it was dry. At forty feet wide and with huge gravel bars I would expect this creek to be flowing year round but such is not the case. Upstream from the low water crossing are giant gravel bars towering over the dry streambed. The mouth of the cave faces the road and is twelve foot wide by six feet high. The walls narrow down to six feet but unfortunately the floor rises to the ceiling within fifty feet blocking further exploration. Cave fauna noted include camel cricket ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and numerous flies ( Diptera ). Total cave time was five minutes. We poked around two other small cavelets that serve as active Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) middens, but do not meet the minimum standards for a cave in Missouri. Powder Mill Research Center Shannon County, Missouri March 16, 2014 By Mark Jones While Ken Grush remained at the cabin to enter cave data Jim Cooley and I drove up at 10:00 a.m. to the Powder Mill Research Center to get the first load of equipment necessary for installing the gate at Lewis Cave (RIP001). I was behind the wheel of the inclement weather we had to endure for the sixty minute drive. Unfortunately the conditions deteriorated as we neared PMRC with the rain changing to sleet. Thankfully the ground was warm enough that junket and we were able to load up the cutting torches, clamps and other equipment before things got too bad. We returned to the Lewis cabin by 4:00 p.m. and in spite of the constant rain Barren Creek remained quiet. flowing at all.
51 Lewis Cave & Turtle Shell Pit Ripley County, Missouri March 17, 2014 By Mark Jones The steel arrived just after noon for the Lewis Cave (RIP001) gating project that Jim Cooley was spearheading in Ripley County. Amazingly Barren Creek was running a foot over the lower river crossing twelve hours after the rain had stopped. The lag time from when it rains until the creek flows is difficult for me to gauge. Jim, Ken Grush and I with the help of the deliveryman transferred most of the steel to a lowboy trailer and then carried the four pieces of diamond sheet up to the entrance. Since the diamond sheet will be used as an anti digging screen these need to be the first puzzle pieces set in place. It will take just a short time to cut and fill the grade at the entrance which we plan on doing later in the week. Bill Gee arrived soon after the steel was unloaded (Funny how that works.) so we decided to ridgewalk a nearby hillside where a pit cave was recently discovered by Zach Worrell. Our attempts to find the cave in January were thwarted but with plenty of nice weather we thought it was wise to look for the cave before it was camouflaged with all the leaves. Unfortunately the ticks ready out in force as Jim, Ken and I had these pests crawling on our clothing. For this search Ken walked the lower part of the hill, Bill walked the middle section and I took the high ground while Jim stayed along the road to oversee the hunt via radio. had found a significant sinkhole in a copse of cedars. Although the cave tion we were pretty sure it was indeed the one. Upon further inspection Bill and I determined that it was a no go without vertical gear to safely drop the pit. Going down the muddy sixty degree slope to a ten foot drop the climb out. Our original idea was to free climb down to survey but now we would now need to get a rope and vertical gear to continue with this plan. I just happen to have a rope and vertical gear just up the hill in my truck so I scurried up, retrieved it and scurried back to reconnoiter the cave. Unfortunately no one else had vertical gear so I would be soloing this trip. At the lip of the vertical drop where the rope was draped is a four foot undercut that offered no help in climbing but I was able to finagle my way to the top of a mudslope six feet down. The slippery mudslope extended at a 45 angle sixteen feet down to the floor of the cave. The total vertical drop from the surface was 36 feet. On the muddy slope I noticed the remains of a familiar creature, a red eared box turtle. Scanning the floor I saw several shells of these unfortunate reptiles. Just eight days earlier I had been in Cole County at Turtle Shell Cave where Krista Bartel had discovered shells from seven turtles. As I was looking at one intact shell I noticed that it moved. I picked up the little fella and he poked out of his shell. I initiated a full scale turtle cave rescue by stuffing him in a pack and having him hauled to the surface. Without this quick action this turtle would have certainly have ended up like his friends. I counted a dozen turtle shells during the survey. Obviously we named the cave Turtle Shell Pit. This cave terminates in this forty foot by twenty four foot room. The ceiling heights were from four to ten feet depending on the ceiling ledge. Two interesting perched pools sit five feet above the floor in a ten foot dome on the north side of the room. Much of the rock in the cave was a very friable coarse white dolomite. Most of the floor was coated in cracked mud that was coated with surface debris. Several active Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) middens were seen scattered around the room. Three
52 pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) were hanging in the middle of the room. A lone cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ) was observed near the perched pools. I also saw a radio dog collar any sign of the dog. Again less than ten days ago I was in Gooseberry Cave where we found a dog collar and the skeleton of its wearer. The two hour survey netted sixty three feet of new cave for the Missouri Speleological Survey. Lewis Cave (RIP001) Ripley County, Missouri March 18, 2014 By Mark Jones Bill Gee, Ken Grush and I had planned to spend most of the day surveying beyond the sump of Lewis Cave (RIP001) since I was leaving for Arizona on Wednesday. We slipped into our wetsuits with every intention of pushing the survey to the very end. As we entered the cave I had serious doubts as to how much surveying The stream near the seen and each of the water constrictions had deep pools behind them. By the time we were neat the watercrawl vey trip was going to be cancelled. Water gushed out of the watercrawl covering a wide expanse of the passage. Accompanying the water was the thundering noise of it rushing over, under and between the rocks. Bill reconnoitered the watercrawl but was denied only twenty feet into the passage. One advantage to the high water was the fact that Ken got some fabulous waterfall photos. We conceded the survey trip to the water but returned to the entrance area to prepare for the gating project later in the week. Jim Cooley joined us in prepping the floor for the expanded metal and the four inch sill plate that would be the foundation for the upcoming cave gate. In addition to working around the entrance we organized the equipment and metal for the big push on Friday. Four hours were spent working on the cave gate. Mushpot Cave Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California March 27, 2014 By Mark Jones After spending the past week in Phoenix, Arizona with my dad, nephew and friends from California for MLB Spring Training I was ready to get back underground. Scott House had invited me to Lava Beds National Monuable to participate since the federal government sequester occurred at that time closing down the monument. With no sequester in sight I was confident that I would be able to return to the genesis of my caving life. Back in northern California herding sheep when I discovered the caves of Lava Beds National Monument. When that job went south I returned to the Midwest and continued to cave, although it was in limestone rather than basalt. and finally got the chance to see it again. Once my truck was unpacked at the Lava Beds Research Center I took the opportunity to tour some of the caves along Cave Loop Road before Scott House and Don Dunham arrived. Mushpot Cave is the closest cave to the Visitor Center and is the only one that has additional lighting and interpretive signs. A steep staircase drops down twenty feet to the namesake of the cave, the Mushpot. The mushpot is a three foot high with a ten foot diameter mini volcano that sprung up from the lava flowing under the floor much. Upstream of the mushpot the passage soon pinches out leaving the downstream flow as the only option. A well light path follows the lava flow for the next four hundred feet before terminating at a breakdown choke. All along the path the numerous interpre-
53 tive signs describe the ever changing tube. From lava dripstone to high lava marks, from lava jams to lavacicles, Mushpot Cave possesses examples of many of the lava formations present in the monument. I spent an hour enjoying this introduction to Lava Beds National Monument. Golden Dome Cave Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California March 27, 2014 By Mark Jones I planned to visit Lava Brook Cave after going to Mushpot Cave but it was closed because the bats were still hibernating. Driving around the Cave Loop Road I pulled off at Golden Dome Cave and joined a family of four to explore the cave. We headed downstream in easy walking passage to where the floor is covered in frothy pahoehoe (ropey lava). reached a pile of ceiling breakdown blocks that spanned the passage forcing us to climb around the left wall before it opened back up into a lava pool. Another pile of ceiling block breakdown had us climbing in the middle of the passage before reaching a passage split. Taking the left branch of the lava flow we continued past another hundred feet of ceiling breakdown blocks that changed to lava covered collapse blocks. At this point another passage split off to the right but we stayed to the left in the larger tube. Two hundred feet later we reached the namesake of the cave, Golden Dome. The golden color was due to the combination of moisture and microbes on the ceiing. Just twenty feet downflow the tube had filled with lava preventing any further travel so we returned in the smaller tube on the right until it joined back into the main flow. Most of this lava tube is easy walking with some stooping involved. Total cave time was one hour. Hardin Butte Caves Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California March 28, 2014 By Mark Jones For the first day of the March Lava Beds National Monument Cave Research Foundation Expedition Scott House, Don Dunham and I were joined by Katrina Smith, a physical scientist technician in the monument. Our plan for the day was to begin methodically mapping the caves and lava tubes just north of Hardin Butte. These caves and tubes have morphology of surfaced fed pahoehoe lava situated in the North Castle tube system of the Basalt of the Castle flow. Scott had information on several caves that had been GPSed but unfortunately not inventoried. The first stop was Gas Can Tube located to the southeast of Battlefield Cave. Two old gallon gas cans were found near the tube that gave it the name. Don had told tales of lava tubes that were above the ground and by golly this was truly a cave of that sort. Scott kept book, Don was on lead tape and setting stations, Katrina was on rear tape and I took compass and inclinometer readings. At four feet wide by two foot high this knock out. The ceiling for the entire length was coated in lavacicles and lava drippings. Starting at one end of the wormhole I bellycrawled over a dry and dusty floor to a small hole that Katrina had entered. Although I was confident I could exit through this hole I had underestimated my girth or overestimated the opening. had to backtrack to the other end. The last lava flow had left a twelve inch crust over a wormhole that ran for 43 feet. Hopefully the remaining caves we survey will be more substantial than this little guy. While we continued searching for other caves I came across Flying Leap Cave, a tube that angled down twenty feet to level off before pinching
54 out. As the search went on I returned to Battlefield Cave to poke around a bit. Located at the base of a sixty foot diameter lava vent this twenty foot diameter entrance quickly split into an alcove balcony and a lower crawl. The floor of the crawl was covered in organic debris, much of it woodrat scat. Just ten feet into the crawlway the passage terminated at a twelve foot high dome room full of breakdown blocks. On the return trip I climbed out of the collapse on the right side where I noticed a hole across from Battlefield Cave. I assumed that it had already been surveyed so I returned to the others who were poking among some disappointing surface tubes. When I mentioned the hole near Battlefield Cave Scott said there was no record of such a cave and that we needed to map it. Battlefield East Cave is located near the base of a juniper tree at the top of a pile of breakdown rubble. Fortunately Battlefield Cave has a brass cap marking the entrance that we easily tied our survey into for our map. Climbing down ten feet between the breakdown brought us to a room that undercut part of the rim of the Battlefield Cave lava vent. Worming our way through the breakdown took us to a junction room with several windows in the breakdown blocks. Don also found an upper lava tube that measured twenty five feet before pinching out. The floor in the tube was a dry, dusty rock while the ceiling was coated in lavacicles and lava drippings. It took us an hour to survey this 102 foot cave. The next cave we found was a surface Mossy Crawl Cave. Similar to Gas Can Tube this cave was twice as wide giving us more space to navigate. Once again this tube has a dusty floor and a lavacicles coated ceiling. This tube had three cavable entrances in its eighty foot length. Katrina had a meeting in the afternoon so we said good bye to her as the rest of us carried on surveying. I saw a breakdown depression nearby that looked promising so I ventured over to inspect it and lo and behold there was indeed another cave. The twenty foot wide by six foot high entrance room soon dropped down to a bellycrawl winding around to the right. The floor of this crawl was very dry and fluffy while the ceiling was cracked and grabby. Ten feet into the crawl the passage becomes too small to continue but a strong cool breeze blew from beyond this spot. As Scott finished up this map I poked around the lip of the breakdown and discovered yet another lava tube. We tied this tube into the previous cave to better represent their relationship. This surface tube was ten feet wide by three feet high and forty feet long. Once again the floor was covered in dry, dusty fluff and the ceiling coated in lavacicles and lava drippings. These two caves were named Hideaway Dome Cave and clocked in at 101 feet. One of our major objectives for the day was to survey Moat Cave with a ten foot drop just inside the tube. Since I had brought along a rope and an etrier we should be able to wrap this up lickety split. A skylight entrance dropped six feet down to a ten foot diameter lava drain with a low crawlway to the ten foot drop. I rigged the drop and climbed down to a ten foot by twenty foot pit with an upper crawl that shortly morphed into a thirty foot diameter dome room. With more survey than we could complete we decided to leave this interesting cave for later in the week when we have more cavers and can dedicate more time to finish it. To finish the day we retraced our steps to a forty foot diameter vent with sufficient overhang to include in the inventory. A little over 64 feet was surveyed around the perimeter under the twenty foot overhang and amongst some breakdown blocks. About an hour was spent on surveying Around Cave. With 413 feet of total cave survey and five caves surveyed we called it a day and returned to a big pot of chili.
55 March 29, 2014 Gloomy weather at the Lava Beds National Monument greeted the team of Don Dunham, Scott House and Mark Jones for the second day of the Cave Research Foundation cave survey. The caves and tubes north of Hardin Butte have morphology of surfaced fed pahoehoe lava situated in the North Castle tube system of the Basalt of the Castle flow. Hiking off the road to the northwest toward Battlefield Cave took us to Weasel Cave in a low lava wall. Scott kept book, Don was on lead tape and setting stations, and I took compass and inclinometer readings. An eight foot wide by two foot high opening broke into a lava tube with a length of fifty five feet. The ceiling varied from two to five feet while the width remained a fairly constant ten feet. A small skylight was at the terminus of the tube. Our next survey was the vent system of the Hardin Vent. A forty foot diameter hole dropped down ten feet to a jumble of breakdown blocks that littered the entire floor. Our survey hugged the perimeter of the vent and garnered 130 feet plus a small lava tube of twenty two feet. An hour was spent surveying this cave. Millipede Tube was our third survey for the day. A two foot diameter hole opened up slightly to a rocky hands and knees crawl. The ceiling was coated in lavacicles and lava drippings. This surface lava tube totaled forty two feet in just two shots. As we were scouting near the Aladdin Cave complex Don noticed a hole in a breakdown pile that extended under the lava flow into a thirty foot diameter room with a two foot high ceiling. A breakdown pile filled the middle of the room with the remainder of the floor being covered with small breakdown. At the back of the cave was a ten foot wide by one foot high lava tube that soon closed down. Four shots gained us over 47 feet of survey in Aladdin Sink. Hiking down the old Power Line Road from Aladdin Sink for five minutes brought us to a rocky outcropping containing Juniper Bobcat Cave. A big juniper tree standing sentinel in the middle of a seventeen foot wide by two foot high entrance gave this cave its name. One big oval room is the extent of this cave. Most of the ceiling was coated in lavacicles and lava drippings while the floor was covered in coarse sand. Fifty feet of survey was recorded in this cave. The sixth cave we surveyed was a Cave. Squeezing between the breakdown I popped into a roomy crawl that extended both left and right. The floor consists of coarse sand and small breakdown while the ceiling is covered in lavacicles and lava drippings. This crescent shaped tube wraps around ninety feet before pinching out. We named this cave Schonchin Curb Cave. The only signs of cave fauna for the day included extensive woodrat ( Neotoma sp. ) middens and scat in nearly all the lava tubes. We finished the day with 440 feet of survey in six caves for the day. It was another successful day of caving at Lava Beds National Monument. March 30, 2014 For the third day of lava tube surveying Don Dunham, Scott House and I were joined by John Tinsley to the north end of the North Castle tube system of the Basalt of the Castle flow north of Hardin Butte. These caves and lava tubes have morphology of surfaced fed pahoehoe lava. Hiking the old Power Line Road for a mile brought us to the northern limits of the lava flow that formed the lava tubes. Just a short distance from the road was our first objective for the day, Spotlight Cave. Don was on lead tape, Scott kept book, John was on rear tape, photography and inventory and I was reading foresights and backsights. A ten foot diameter collapse angled down to a thirty foot wide by four foot high passage with the classic lava tube signature of lavacicles and lava drippings on the
56 ceiling and cinder and breakdown on the floor. Shooting downflow to a two foot floor drop we turned left into an easy bellycrawl that quickly opened back up. A big pile of breakdown filled most of the tube at this point although we could easily navigate around the obstruction. An interesting lava feature at this spot was a section of wall that had sloughed off and folded over. Another shot took us to a thirty foot diameter ceiling collapse that had passages running off in several directions. From the top of the lava flow it reminded me of a railroad roundhouse. To better define the survey we took readings around the edge of the collapse to connect in all of the passages before continuing the tube surveys. Fortunately we could tie into two previous surveys that had been drawn. In one tube John explained how another wall section the wall happening in lava tubes. It took us four hours to survey 330 feet of Spotlight Cave. Walking along the surface to the southeast from Spotight Cave I noticed a five foot diameter ceiling collapse begging to be explored. Scott and I both climbed down six feet to stoopwalking passage in both directions. In thirty feet my trip downflow was ended by a narrow constriction, Scott on the other hand had going tube with several openings. I pushed this crawlway to the downflow breakdown entrance to Circle Cave. A fifteen foot wide by three foot high opening on the left dropped into a three feet deep, ten foot diameter depression that once served as a lava drain. Thirty feet to the left was a dead end while to the right was a three foot diameter tube. On the other side of the tube was another lava drain, only this was about twice as large. Just above this drain was a passage split with a bellycrawl on the right and a hands and knees crawl ahead. The two passages wrapped around a large column sixty feet to rejoin at the southern entrance to Circle Cave. Continuing upflow from the southern entrance was an easy bellycrawl for forty feet that gradually opened up to a hands and knees crawl. Along the left wall of the crawl was a large window into an upper room that was twenty feet wide by forty feet long by three foot high. Within thirty feet the crawl reached a pile of breakdown at a ceiling collapse. Hugging the left wall under a ceiling ledge another twenty feet brought me to a ten foot wide by one foot high tube that trended thirty feet away from the ceiling collapse. At the end of this crawl was a very interesting room with ten foot diameter lava drains on either end. One of these drains even had a two foot long lava column. Back at the ceiling collapse the tube continues in an oval crawl that eventually pinches out. Scott and Don had surveyed this ninety foot upflow while John and I looked at the rest of the system. Realizing that there was much more surveying to do here than could be accomplished on this trip we set this lava tube high on our list to complete this week. Total time in the Circle Cave complex was two hours. Fleener Chimneys & Caves Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California March 31, 2014 By Mark Jones On the northwestern border of the Lava Beds National Monument is the Fleener Chimneys. This imposing lava flowed along the eastern edge of Gilin this area. From the overlook it would seem foolish to even attempt to cross this jagged deathtrap. Thankfully this type of lava flow is not conducive to lava tube formation so it is not probable that it will be scouted for caves. is composed of three distinct spatter cones that do have cave fea-
57 tures. After exhausting their supply of lava these vents simply closed down resulting in essentially vertical pits. The walls of these vents are extremely sharp and very brittle when compared with the lava tubes throughout much of the national monument. Two of the vents had been nearly filled with rocks dropped by visitors over the past hundred years trying to determine their depth. A group of volunteers have removed three tons of rocks from one of the vents to return it to its former depth of fifty feet. The third vent is the largest and most interesting since it bells out at the floor level and has a lower passage. Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California March 31, 2014 By Mark Jones On the north end of the Lava Beds Stronghold, the site of a drawn out battle between the U.S. Army and the Modoc Indians in the winter of 1872 73. As is often the case in issues involving different cultures both sides had valid arguments and unfortunately they just as often result in bloodshed. During a peace negotiation Captain Jack assassinated General Canby and with the rest of his band fled to the south end of Tule Lake to hide among the lava formations. These formations were created in the Basalt of Mammoth Crater flow. While touring that even though they were greatly outnumbered the terrain offered excellent protection against the U.S. Army. The clefts in the lava allowed the Modocs to freely move and safely defend themselves. Along the trail are several caves of varying size, from two to twenty foot diameter tubes that were effectively utilized. Two of the most important caves standoff the Modocs escaped via the heavily crevassed collapse basins, but only for a short time. The story does not end well for the Modocs who are betrayed or killed. Ross Lava Flow Caves Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California March 31, 2014 By Mark Jones Following my successful trip into the Balcony Cave Complex I drove up to hike to the Thomas Wright Battlefield west of Hardin Butte. On the trail to the battlefield was another trail leading to Black Crater, a spatter cone formation. I detoured off my route to see this impressive lava flow and discovered that it had created numerous lava tubes when it was spewing out the molten rock. When I checked out these lava tubes it was apparent that many of them would not meet the requirements of forty feet in length, but there were a couple that would qualify. Certainly not the most extensive caves in the national monument they are none the less important for understanding the dynamics of lava flows. Schonchin Butte Caves Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California March 31, 2014 By Mark Jones Since Scott House had a presentation for the park personnel in Lava Beds National Monument I decided to take the day off from surveying and go caving. Scott suggested that I visit the Balcony Cave Complex a half mile northwest of Schonchin Butte. I pulled into the parking area at 8:00 a.m. with my U.S. Geological Survey Lava Tube Systems in and near Lava map ready to explore the interconnecting lava flows in the area. These caves are part of a near surface distributary tube system of the basalt of Mammoth Crater. Noted Lava Beds explorer J.D. Howard named the caves Balcony Cave, Boulevard Cave and
58 Sharks Mouth Cave on January 4, 1918. The first ceiling collapse along the surface trail is the entrance to the south branch of Balcony Cave. This thirty foot diameter hole drops down a breakdown slope twenty feet to a pahoehoe floor that ran both upflow and downflow. I went upflow twenty feet to a passage bifurcation and followed the easy left hand tube two hundred feet to a breakdown choke. On the return trip I was able to take the right hand route back to the entrance collapse. Downflow fifty feet from here was a similar ceiling collapse entrance. The tube narrows down for the next hundred feet before joining the main branch of Balcony Cave coming in from the left. The passage now expanded to twenty feet in diameter for a short distance to a long collapse trench caused by the ceiling failing. Boulevard Natural Bridge spans the lava tube for twenty feet before yet another ceiling collapse. After climbing over this pile of ceiling breakdown is the beginning of Boulevard Cave, which is actually the downflow section of Balcony Cave. A tube split occurs at forty feet that has an upper stoopwalking tube with a smooth floor on the left and a lower walking tube with a breakdown floor on the right. The left hand passage is easily traversed for the next 250 feet before pinching out at a lava choke. I knew it was Boulevard Cave since at the lip of the lava cascade are six inch faded yellow block letJ.D. Howard had painted this sign many years ago when he was exploring and promoting the lava beds. The right hand passage soon transforms into another collapse trench before the final hundred feet of cave. Returning to the main branch of Balcony Cave I continued upflow 120 feet over massive breakdown to yet another ceiling collapse. entrance on the other end of this breakdown so I referred to the map and set off for Sharks Mouth Cave just 150 feet to the south. This entrance was in a thirty foot by fifty foot ceiling collapse (surprise, surprise) that descended twenty feet to walking passage downflow. I hugged the left wall on the way down at the passage splits and took the right wall on the rebound. The nicest lavacicles and lava drippings were located in this cave. A combination of walking, stooping and crawling all proved useful in navigating through Sharks Mouth Cave. On the way out I found the elusive upflow connection to Balcony Cave as well as a ten foot entrance climb that ended in the ditch across the road. The only signs of cave fauna for the day included extensive woodrat ( Neotoma sp. ) middens and scat in all the lava tubes. Hardin Butte Caves Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California April 1, 2014 By Mark Jones Following a day off of surveying the team of Don Dunham, Scott House, John Tinsley and I returned to the caves north of Hardin Butte. The caves and tubes north of Hardin Butte have morphology of surfaced fed pahoehoe lava situated in the North Castle tube system of the Basalt of the Castle flow. Our goal for the day was to survey Circle Cave and tie it into Crescent Cave and Spotlight Cave. All of these caves are interconnected in a network of lava tubes and ceiling collapses that weave back and forth across the landscape. Since we had surveyed the ninety foot crawl of the upflow of Circle Cave on Sunday we tied into its entrance to begin our day. Don was on lead tape, Scott kept book and sketched, John was on rear tape and inventorying and I read foresights and backsights. Starting at the small ceiling collapse entrance we crawled under a ledge to a thirty foot bellycrawl that opened into The Barbell Room. I had crawled down this passage on Sunday but we ran out of time to survey it. At the end of the crawl the pas-
59 sage dropped down three feet to a lava drain with the most interesting formations that I have seen so far in the North Castle tube system. A ceiling covered in three inch lava soda straws plus three nifty lava columns were hidden under a low ceiling shelf at the back of the drain. One of the lava columns consisted of a single lava soda straw hanging from the ceiling that was connected to a mound of lava soda straws on the floor. Obviously the woodrats ( Neotoma sp. ) appreciated the area too since there was a six inch layer of scat covering the bottom of the poop!) Twenty feet right of the first lava drain over a short crawl is a second lava drain although not as decorated. Returning to the upflow ceiling collapse entrance we surveyed through a hands and knees crawl to a window that led to an upper alcove. With very little rock above us there wasalcove as was evident by the numerous skylights in the room. Back in the crawlway we continued downflow another thirty feet to a bifurcation of the tube. The passage had gradually opened up into a low stoopwalk in both directions. Staying to the right the floor sloped down to a lava cascade that dropped down four feet to a ten foot by twenty foot lava basin that had drained out. On the other side of the basin is a three foot diameter tube that opens up into a larger tube. Another passage bifurcation occurred here with a forty foot tube terminating on the right while to the left a ten foot diameter lava drain led to the northern entrance of the primary ceiling collapse as well as a crawlway to more downflow passage. A hundred feet downflow we reached the last skylight entrance before the tube pinches out. Returning to the primary ceiling collapse entrance we tied in the southern entrance with the rest of the survey along with surface surveys of Crescent and Spotlight Caves. Eight hours were spent surveying this fabulous cave system to over a thousand feet and thankfully we finished up before the nasty weather set in. Addendum: Woodrat ( Neotoma sp. ) middens and scat was observed throughout Circle Cave. We also found two TownEared bats ( Corynorhinus townsendii ) near the lava cascade. April 2, 2014 For the sixth day at Lava Beds National Monument the team of Don Dunham, Scott House and I lost John Tinsley from the survey while gaining Patrick Taylor, an interpreter and Larisa Proulx, an intern. Our plan for the day was to survey Moat Cave, complete a surface survey between Crescent Moon, Circle and Spotlight Cave and reconnoiter more of the lava flow. The caves and tubes north of Hardin Butte have morphology of surfaced fed pahoehoe lava situated in the North Castle tube system of the Basalt of the Castle flow. Having been denied completing the survey of Moat Cave on the first day at the monument we were determined to finish this cave before the week ended. For this cave Don was on lead tape, Scott kept book and sketched, Patrick and Larisa inventoried and I read foresights and backsights. Starting from the bronze benchmark we surveyed into the ceiling collapse that gradually sloped to a shear drop. This cave required an etrier to drop ten feet to a lava drain with an upper crawlway leading to a dome room. After securing the rope I climbed down to the lava drain and set a station in the upper crawlway. Patrick soon joined me and we assisted the remainder of the team to continue the survey. While in the lava drain the remains of numerous mammals were noted. Ten feet into the upper crawl the room ballooned out to a thirty foot diameter room with a six foot ceiling. This is a very interesting room that has an assortment of formations ranging from pahoehoe to aa, lavacicles to lava soda straws. A floor collapse at the back
60 of the room was the end of the cave. Once again we discovered bones from numerous mammals scattered on the floor. Moat Cave survey total was an exciting 152 feet. With our first assignment completed we marched over the lava flow past several caves on the way to surface survey around Circle Cave. While Don and Scott surveyed I took Larisa and Patrick on a short tour of Circle Cave and Spotlight Cave. After lunch we walked over the lava flow looking for more caves on our way south. Along the hike we stopped at White Cap Cave to see the unusually colored pahoehoe floor. This pahoehoe was very fine in texture taking on the appearance of rimstone dams in a limestone cave with the added feature of chalky white caps. (Hence the name.) Entering through an opening in a breakdown pile we descended fifteen feet to the floor. To the left the passage floor was coated in waves of white caps while to the right the floor was less decorated. Another interesting lava tube in the Basalt of the Castle flow explored. Patrick led us to three surface tubes along the west side of Hardin Butte that we GPSed to survey at a later date. Not only did Patrick show us these new caves he found another nice hundred footer that we also GPSed. With any these caves of the Lava Beds. April 3, 2014 To wrap up the week of surveying at Lava Beds National Monument Don Dunham, Scott House and I were joined by Katrina Smith, a physical scientist technician, Jesse Harden, an interpreter and Amy XXXX, an intern. Today we planned to locate some elusive lava tubes north of Hardin Butte and scour the lava flow for other hidden gems. The caves and tubes north of Hardin Butte have morphology of surfaced fed pahoehoe lava situated in the North Castle tube system of the Basalt of the Castle flow. The first activity for the day was to give a tour of Circle and Spotlight Cave to Katrina, Jesse and group split up to cover more ground. Don, Scott, Katrina and Amy wandered east to look for some known caves while Jesse and I went to the north ceiling collapse of Corral Cave to have one last look for any continuing passage. Poking around the ceiling rubble, I dropped amongst the breakdown to crawl under a ceiling ledge that trended north. ing much but pushed beyond the breakdown to find a tight crawl that opened into a hands and knees crawl. Excited with the discovery I tried to worm my way through the constriction but was denied. Jessie was able to slide right through and disappear around to the left. With this incentive I broke through and joined Jesse down the passage. Twenty feet into the hands and knees crawl the tube morphed into a wide bellycrawl that extended nearly a hundred feet! Twenty feet into the bellycrawl was a sit up room to the left with several nice lavacicles, lava helictites and popcorn. The floor was covered in pea sized popcorn for the rest of the crawl convincing us that this was the end of the cave for us. We exited the cave to tell the other party of our find and compare notes. Hiking east we soon found them around a sloping entrance to an unknown cave of breakdown that extended sixty feet. Unfortunately under the time constraints of the trip we did not survey this cave, but did get a GPS reading for future reference. Continuing east in a scouting formation I came across a ceiling collapse with passage running north and south. This was one of the known lava tubes without a survey that Scott was searching for. The surveying party for this cave was Don on lead tape, Scott on book, Jessie on rear tape and me on compass and inclinometer. Katrina practiced her sketching and mapping skills while Amy learned how to use the compass and inclinometer. From the entrance breakdown pile we shot into the
61 southern passage. Four stations defined a sixteen foot wide by eighty foot long by four foot high room. The most interesting formations in the cave were the coils of rock that had separated from the wall and rolled down to the floor. These formations gave the cave its name of Pumice Scroll Cave Back at the entrance we took two shots into the north passage to a terminal point. This cave had a total survey length of 160 feet. With this survey completed we scouted the surrounding lava flow looking for more caves and Jessie found one just five minutes later north of Pumice Scroll Cave. A five foot diameter ceiling collapse entrance led to a twelve foot wide by four foot high lava tube. Although this was a non descript cave the dust was certainly memorable. Thankfully it closed down at forty eight feet. We named this cave Dusty Dome. Hiking just a little north Don discovered Clinker Crust Tube just west of the Schonchin flow. This surface tube offered very little other than dust. This forty foot cave was so uninviting that only Don and Scott entered it to complete the survey. We returned to scouting formation as we turned west but did not find any more caves in the area. Back at Power Line road we again split into two survey parties with Don and Scott going south in search of Mossy Slope Cave while the rest of the group went west to survey north of Corral Cave. For this survey Katrina was taking book, Jessie was on lead tape, Amy was on rear tape and I took readings. It took us an hour to inventory the 120 feet of survey in OK Cave. Don and Scott found Mossy Slope Cave and surveyed it to forty nine feet. We closed the book on the caves north of Hardin Butte with nineteen caves surveyed for a total of 2,729 feet. A very successful week of work completed at the Lava Beds National Monument, California. Skull Cave Schonchin Butte Siskiyou County, California April 5, 2014 By Mark Jones To cap off my trip to Lava Beds National Monument in California I decided to stop at Skull Cave before stopping in nearby Cedarville, California to visit with friends. According to the U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1673 Tube Systems in and near Lava Beds National Monurightly named since there were two human skeletons and numerous skulls and bones of antelope, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats discovered by E.L. Hopkins in 1898 embedded in ice in the lower level. It is thought that two Indians were attempting to climb down on a log (also embedded in the ice) and fell to their death. I arrived at the parking lot at 8:00 a.m. to descend the many stairs on the east end of a collapse trench into Skull Cave with no intention of falling off a log to drop to my death. At the bottom of the stairs is a paved trail that undulates along the right wall for 500 feet. denying that this lava tube is B I G. The cross sections vary from 60 80 feet wide and 30 65 feet high. At the back of the cave another staircase dropped down forty feet past an upper balcony that formed a natural bridge that spanned the passage. The temperature dropped significantly the closer I got to the lower level. At the bottom of the stairs any further exploration is prohibited and enforced by a well designed bat gate. Just beyond the gate a thick layer of ice covers the floor. A sign explains that the high traffic over the years had degraded the quality of ice and this in turn was having an adverse effect on the cave environment. A map of the cave indicates that another larger ice floor is a hundred feet past the bat gate. I spent thirty minutes in Skull Cave
62 and hope to return soon to the Lava Beds to explore more of these interesting caves. Hidden Slot Estavalle Cave Oregon County, Missouri April 11, 2014 By Mark Jones Ken Grush and I arrived early at Panther Springs Ranch so we took it upon ourselves to go caving. The last time we were here Ken and Jim Cooley had found the newest cave on the ranch, Hidden Slot Cave (ORETBA). What better way to spend a warm, sunny April day than surveying a cave. Driving up a gravel lane along the Eleven Points River we eventually pulled over where we suited up for the short hike to the cave. A sycamore tree had conveniently fallen across the river giving us dry access to the other bank. Our survey day began at 9:30 a.m. with Ken taking backsights and shooting photographs and I reading foresights and keeping book. The entrance is a narrow crack that runs into the base of a ridge giving little indication that there is a cave tucked underneath. After scooting sideways for eight feet in the crack you can easily slide down eight feet to a twenty foot wide room with a four foot ceiling. The floor is a dry mud and there are no formations. Fifty feet into the cave formations begin popping up, the mud floor gets tackier and an intermittent stream channel appears. Some possible paleo bear beds were noted in this portion of the cave. The next fifty feet are much like the first fifty only a bit muddier with a more pronounced stream channel. At this point (station A4) the cave splits into an upper and lower level. We took the high road off to the left and were rewarded with two beautifully decorated rooms. The flowstone near the floor appeared to be dissolving by some type of water action. The left hand room had walls of mud coated flowstone and drapery with some soda straws and helictites. My favorite formation in the cave is a delicate one inch helictite with a clinging drop of water at the end. The right hand room had walls of mud coated flowstone and drapery with a few other formations. Back at station A4 we continued down the lower passage twenty feet to a small concretion conglomeration dome where the cave took a 90 turn to the left and narrowed down to a two foot diameter squeeze. Beyond this squeeze is the muddiest section of the cave. suffering because of the mud interference. Once he embraced the mud I believe his outlook improved greatly. (Not really.) The most interesting feature of this cave is forty feet past the squeeze. A six foot deep (or more), twenty foot diameter pool sits in the middle of a thirty foot diameter room. A steep slope of slippery mud surrounds the pool. We estimate that the pool level corresponds to the nearby Eleven Point River level and that when the river floods the water backflows into the cave through this pool. This may explain some of the dissolving formations in the upper rooms and the intermittent stream channel. The ebbing and flowing of water through this pool is called an estavalle so we tacked that on the end of Hidden Slot to arrive at the new name of the cave, Hidden Slot Estavalle. After sketching this area Ken crawled up a mudslope that was under the left hand room and soon broke into the upper level under a floor ledge. We speculate that the dissolvseen earlier is caused by the fluctuating water levels in the cave pool. We tied in the low crawl with the upper rooms to complete a loop giving us more control on our map. Our survey totaled fourteen stations and garnered 286 feet of new cave on the Panther Springs Ranch. Six hours were spent surveying the cave and surrounding features.
63 Big Mouth Cave Oregon County, Missouri April 12, 2014 By Mark Jones With three survey teams assembled to map Big Mouth Cave (ORE002) we had high hopes of knocking off a chunk of the cave before the return of the gray bats ( Myotis grisescens ). The has proven to be a significant maternity colony for these bats and we wanted to get in one more survey before they reclaimed the cave. I took in the first group with plans to pick up the survey at station A27 and tie in with the second team. Ken Grush shuttled the three of us across the big pool near the entrance and returned for the next team. No bats were seen or heard until we reached the waterfall area. Here we saw three flying bats and heard distinct chirping ahead. Crawling quietly ahead I realized that the next room was occupied by a large number of bats. At this point our team retreated to the entrance. The survey of Big Mouth Cave will have to wait until the gray bats vacate in the fall. With plenty of daylight remaining we broke into small teams to ridgewalk some of the other 3,600 acres of hollows, ridges and valleys. Ken and I hiked two miles in some promising hills near the east side of the property but alas were denied even the smallest of rewards. The other teams fared much better from their ridgewalking with four new caves identified and marked. Pond Spring Cave Oregon County, Missouri April 13, 2014 By Mark Jones Before heading back to camp Ken Grush and I hiked over to Pond Spring Cave (ORETBA) in a nearby hollow. discovered this spring cave above a beaver dam although according to them there would be some sweat equity needed to push it. We found the main entrance easily enough it was twenty feet above the beaver dam. A rock outcropping extended out from the ridge forming a ten foot wide by three foot high mouth that funneled down to a two foot diameter hole that ran six feet before pinching out. The most impressive aspect of the cave was the amount of sticks crammed into the entrance. Although there is another potential entrance nearby we did not find it. Tunnel Slot Cave Oregon County, Missouri April 13, 2014 By Mark Jones Following the successful mapping of Elbow Cave (ORETBA) Ken Grush and I set off up the adjacent hollow for Tunnel Slot Cave (ORETBA). This cave was found yesterday and had two entrances with a potential watercrawl. Hiking up the valley for three hundred feet we saw an outcropping of rock that fit the description given to us by the ridgewalkers. I scurried up the slope while Ken stayed in the valley and we both found an entrance. My entrance was in a boulder was a spring entrance down low in the valley. formation we decided to start at the bottom and survey up to the boulder entrance with plans to push the watercrawl if possible. Ken read backsights and took photographs and I read foresights and sketched. The lower entrance is three foot wide by ten foot tall with a tiny stream flowing over the gravelly floor. An interesting feature of this cave is that ten feet into the cave is a nicely decorated dome room with a chockstone at the top. It must be only a couple of feet below the surface of the ridge. Twenty feet into the cave the passage turns at 90 to the left and angles up at a steep rock slope covered in leaves. The water cascaded down this incline from a pond just inside the boulder entrance. Our survey shows the upper entrance sixteen feet above the
64 spring entrance. We surveyed twenty feet into the three foot wide by five foot high pool passage and set station A5. Before continuing the survey I reconnoitered the watercrawl to weigh our options. If it pinched down quickly we would complete the survey today but if it opened up we would plan on returning later to continue the map. After twenty feet I was at the edge of the pool and climbed up a short slope through a two foot hole that . . popped open! I was amazed that I was in a large room that extended at least sixty feet with a tight water canyon below. Pushing to the back of the room I heard a waterfall but did not push the passage more thoroughly investigate. During the brief time in the room I felt that it had not seen human visitors. I slipped back through the watercrawl to report the news to Ken. With this information we opted to finish the surface survey to tie in the two entrances before calling it a day. in 2 hours in Tunnel Slot Cave with more to follow. Addendum: Cave fauna observed on this trip included five pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) middens, two cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ), some camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and some flies ( Diptera ). Elbow Cave Oregon County, Missouri April 13, 2014 By Mark Jones Ken Grush and I planned to spend Sunday surveying some new caves that were discovered by the ridgewalkers at Panther Springs Ranch on Saturday. The first cave on our to do list was Elbow Cave (ORETBA) at the base of a bluff along the Eleven Points River. it is an easy forty foot crawl that ends in a flowstone choke. Wading across the Eleven Points River we were distracted by the numerous dark spots on the bluff that detoured us from our surveying goal. Once we fotake long to find the mouth of Elbow Cave. A shallow three foot overhang angled back to the four foot diameter hole three feet above the ground. Eastern woodrats ( Neotoma floridana ) had settled down nicely in the cave as was evident by their midsmall domes, some popcorn along the walls, a bit of drapery and two long dead flowstone mounds. Additional cave fauna noted were a pipistrelle or tri colored bat ( Perimyotis subflavus ), camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and some flies ( Diptera ). Total cave time was one hour. Pond Spring Cave Oregon County, Missouri April 14, 2014 By Mark Jones With plenty of daylight remaining Ken Grush and I hiked over to revisit Pond Spring Cave (ORETBA) to poke around a bit more and get more photographs. Yesterday we saw the lower watercrawl but had overlooked a nearby upper opening. The upper entrance is a two foot by one foot opening that may or may not go. Since the floor was packed with sticks get a real feel for its potential. leave this dig trip to younger and more spirited cavers. Tunnel Slot Cave Oregon County, Missouri April 14, 2014 By Mark Jones Determined to finish off Tunnel Slot Cave (ORETBA) Ken Grush and I arrived at 9:45 a.m. ready to finish off the survey beyond the watercrawl. Our first order of business was to remove a dam of debris to lower the pool of
65 For this trip Ken was on point, set stations and took photographs while I shot foresights and kept book. Starting at station A5 we dropped a foot to take a short shot before entering the watercrawl. Once Ken had negotiated the crawl he determined that we could squeeze through an upper tube just above the watercrawl. We committed ourselves to the lower passage crawling through a six inch deep eighteen foot long pool to a pile of sticks. Backflooding from the upper entrance resulted in this mass of wood that settled as the water level dropped. A fifteen foot shot up a 25 slope through an easy pinch got us into the largest section of the cave. Basically this room was ten foot wide, seventy foot long with ceiling heights from two to six feet. A hands and knees crawl angled off from this room. Twenty feet of walking passage dropped to a three foot high crawl for the remained of the room. A narrow four foot deep canyon adorned with popcorn ran the length of the room along the right wall with a babbling six inch stream at the bottom. The upper level was boxy in shape with numerous minor ledges wrapping around the perimeter. Small soda straws, stalactites and helictites decorated the upper passage along with some nubby stalagmites and a few columns. Nearly all of the formations were coat in a thin layer of brown mud. Although I had reconnoitered the room the day before I had not seen the historical graffiti on the ceiling in the walking section. We identified Noel Ledbetter, Robert, and Louis Miller with dates of 1930 and 1937. Ken photographed these inscriptions so we can share them with the local residents. At the far end of the room is the Horseshoe Perched Pool, a ten foot passed by the mainstream. Another perched pool is located just above the Horseshoe Perched Pool. In just eight feet any further exploration is prohibited by a massive flowstone choke although we heard a waterfall behind the constriction. On the return trip I investigated an upper crawl that terminated in a wall of flowstone that we named Upper Flowstone Choke (UFC). Our final objective was to survey the crawl off the room. Two narrow bridges spanned the crawl in the first twenty feet. The second station brought us into a nine foot circular room with a bellycrawl heading to the ridge. Forty five feet later we reached the end of the line when we butted into a breakdown pile. This crawlway netted us a little over ninety feet of cave in four shots. It was another red letter day for the team of Grush and Jones. Addendum: Cave fauna observed on this trip were fifteen pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), a cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ), a larval salamander, numerous camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ), some flies ( Diptera ) and (accidentals?) Allie Spring & Mill Creek Cave Pulaski County, Missouri April 15, 2014 By Mark Jones Jim Cooley, Ken Grush and I arrived the evening of the 14 th at the landprepare for the three tons of steel being delivered the next day. scheduled to arrive until after noon which gave us less daylight to move the steel. In addition it had to be unloaded at the roadside since the lane. After we got it off of the trailer the landowner hooked up his four wheel drive pickup truck to a small utility trailer and we began hauling it up and down two miles of challenging terrain to the cutting
66 station. Transporting twenty foot bars of four inch angle iron along with smaller dimension steel required seven trips with each round trip taking forty minutes. Needless to say by the sun was setting and we were beat. With the steel in place the fabrication of the gate can begin next week. Breakdown and Fitzpatrick Caves Christian County, Missouri April 17, 2014 By Mark Jones Jim Cooley and I arrived in SpringApril 16 th from the Powder Mill Research Center near Eminence after loading the gating equipment necessary for the next two weeks of work. Rising early on the 17 th we (Jim, Max and I) grabbed a bite to eat before picking up the generators and drove south of Springfield to a gravel road along the James River that led to our gating project. There we met with Jon Beard, Roy Gold and work. Walking along the river bluff I popped into Armpit Cave (CHR174) and Breakdown Cave (CHR153) before reaching Fitzpatrick Cave (CHR002). Armpit Cave is a thirty foot crawl at the base of a bluff that trends toward Breakdown Cave that terminates in a formation choke. A few mudded formations dotted the ceiling and walls, but otherwise not much to report on this cave. Breakdown Cave on the other hand is a gated cave with several thousand feet of passage. Back in 1983 this cave was gated to protect and preserve the cave for future generations. Over the years it has served as a successful cave restoration laboratory and speleology classroom. A forty foot bellycrawl in tacky mud brought me to the original gate installed thirty years ago. Although this gate does not conform to current standards it has done a good job of keeping uninvited guests out. This is as far as I ventured today since our task was to install the gate at nearby Fitzpatrick Cave. The recent discovery of the Ozark Cavefish and Bristly Cave Crayfish in the cave necessitated a gate to protect their habitat. By the time I had hiked to Fitzpatrick Cave the rest of the crew was unloading gear and setting up the equipment. Earlier this year Jon and his wife selected the location for the gate and took measurements for the gate. Charly prefabricated many of the pieces for the project in his shop at home so a lot of the cutting and welding had already been done. cave gating streamlined the operation making it all run like clockwork. Fitzpatrick Cave has three walking entrances, two of them within ten feet of each other while the third is a hundred feet to the west. These entrances are all located twenty feet above the riverbank but are still prone to flooding. Our task for the day was to install the gate in an eight foot wide by six foot high cross section of the passage where the entrances met. Once the gate pieces were lugged up to the cave we slid them into the cave until we needed them back at the gating site. Jon and I spent the next hour leveling the floor with a rake and hoe in preparation for the anti digging screen. With the screen was in place Charly stepped in to weld the framework before we began welding the horizontal bars. I took over the welding responsibilities for an hour while the rest of the crew grabbed a bite to eat. After lunch Jon offered to give me a guided tour of the cave. A sixty foot stoopwalk beyond the gate brought us to a small keyhole through a flowstone choke on the left that opened back up into walking passage. Decades of visitors had left written evidence of their presence all along the wall for the next hundred feet. turned right in a twelve foot tall canyon passage that ran about two hundred feet to a flowstone choke/ breakdown collapse. The cave maps reveal that Breakdown Cave is just on the other side. The most prominent
67 a twelve foot column that has weathered the abuse dished out by ignorant cave guests. junction we continued to the left two hundred feet until the floor dropped down to a sump. The water level was cave critters here. A balcony room required a ladder for safe exploration and although Jon had one outside day. According to Jon this is the most decorated (and most damaged) portion of the cave. A majority of the restoration is planned in this area. Back at the cave gate Charly was welding up a storm and by 6 touches on the gate. Matt Baumgartner, another Springfield Plateau Grotto member, joined the group for the final two hours of work. We had everything in place and equipment dusk. Jon was extremely excited that Fitzpatrick Cave and its fauna are now protected. Cleveland Cave St. Clair County, Missouri April 18, 19 & 20, 2014 By Mark Jones April 18, 2014 Jim Cooley and I arrived at Cleveland Cave after 9:00 p.m. on the 17 th to find Jenny Bentz, Lee Krout and Josh Streightenberger sitting around the campfire at the KCAG Official Campsite. We enjoyed an hour of fellowship around the fire before retiring for the evening. Bright and early the next morning we were joined by Tim Sampson and Vic Nickels. While Jim addressed management issues Jenny, Lee, Josh, Tim and I began dressing up the anti digging screen site. Vic had torn out the old gate earlier in the week so our job was made much easier because of his efforts. The cave entrance is a triangular opening with a sixteen foot horizontal ceiling, a five foot right wall and an angling floor that connects to the left. We spent three hours grading the slope cutting and filling until the anti digging screen were nested properly. After a healthy lunch I set up the cutting station above the cave to fabricate the steel before being moved to the gating area. When the operation was ready to go I was joined by Jenny and Jack Peters at the oxy acetylene cutting station to cut the steel into the lengths requested by the gating crew. After I demonstrated the proper method for using the cutting torch, Jenny and Jack spent the next six hours cutting up the necessary pieces. I got to referred to me as Gru. (My people, they love me!) We worked until the sun was setting and Jim radioed us to shut down. The project is well ahead of schedule at this point. April 19, 2014 For the second day at the Cleveland Cave gating the oxy acetylene cutting team of Jenny Bentz, Jack Peters and daughter Austin. It was a pleasant day to be outside with an enthusiastic crew. Jenny retained her Minion dedication lifted her to the number one position by the end of the day. Each of us would occasionally carry the steel down to the gating site to check on the progress of the project. the final piece of the puzzle to complete the gating project. Other than a tad bit of cutting tomorrow our task is finished. Everyone gathered at dusk around the campfire to enjoy the fabulous fish dinner prepared by Vic Nickel, Pic Walenta and Shelly Fields. April 20, 2014 I turned over the reins of the cutting station to Austin Peters on Sunday since I needed to pack for my Arkansas trip. Before leaving I joined
68 John Beard and Matt Baumgartner in Cleveland Cave in a new form of photography called Photosynth. Matt has become adept at this visual art form utilizing a Microsoft program to format his pictures. Basically a picture is taken every three feet and these are all spliced into a sort of stop action film. I liken it to when as kids we would draw stick figures in the corner of a notepad that would pages. According to Matt walking passages are the best for this type of photography. Both John and I served as models during the shoot to add scale and interest to the program. the Cleveland Cave Photosynth. Tortoise Cave Newton County, Arkansas April 21, 2014 By Mark Jones Hot on the trail of a cave lead Scott Dankof, Mike Lace and I drove the back roads of Newton County to investigate a spring flowing from a bluff face. After meeting the landowner we had a short hike to the spring entrance where a steady stream was cascading over a gentle waterfall. A walking entrance into the fractured bluff soon ended in a breakdown pile that had fallen from the left wall. Beyond the breakdown a waterfall could be heard rushing over the rock which may indicate more pasexcavating the rock on this trip so we are planning on returning in the future to push this enticing lead. Before leaving the landowner gave us a tour of their house and Tortoise. Expecting to find an aquarium with a small reptile we were flabbergasted when we were escorted to a balcony overlooking a large fenced yard with a 140 pound tortoise! This fella was living the high life (as far as African Tortoises go) in Arkansas. Naturally the cave was named in his honor. Morel Cave Newton County, Arkansas April 21, 2014 By Mark Jones On the way to back from Tortoise Cave Scott Dankof, Mike Lace and I stopped at an interesting waterfall and cave we spotted alongside the road. I was the first down the slope to a shallow bedrock stream that I crossed to a trail down to the cave. Excitement was running high since the mouth of the cave was the thirty foot wide by twelve foot high. Unfortunately the cave was a formed by surface water action resulting in a mere shelter. Disappointment in the situation was soon forgotten when Mike pointed out a morel mushroom poking through the leaf litter. Within seconds each of us was focused in on mushrooms. We were soon rewarded with a dozen nice fungi. In addition Scott shot some beautiful photos of the waterfall. Unnamed Cave Newton County, Arkansas April 21, 2014 By Mark Jones Last year when I was in Arkansas we had attempted to survey Unnamed Cave but were denied due to high water. Scott Dankof, Mike Lace and I returned in wetsuits to see if we could push deeper in the watercrawl on this trip. The first 250 feet of crawl has been previously surveyed to a sit up room where a watercrawl continued. For this trip we wore only the bibs of our wetsuit since the water was going to be warm and the pasthe water was cold but the passage was still tight.) Mike took book, Scott was on point and I took compass and inclinometer readings. Right away I knew that it would be slightly challenging when Scott began whining
69 at the first shot. When I joined him in the low watercrawl I understood I could barely turn my head without pushing my nose under water and my chest was submerged in chilly water. In spite of these conditions Scott forged ahead another two stations to a small sit up room. With the watercrawl pinching down Scott sat out the remaining survey. Mike took point now as I continued to shoot foresights. Several thirty and forty foot shots were taken for the way. was much shallower. When we reached another sit up room Mike announced squeeze through the next constriction. Several hundred feet of flat out bellycrawl awaits those fortunate (foolish?) enough to fit. And the reward? . . a streambed digging air. If this happens to be your idea of a good time give Mike a call at BR549. We did compile 250 feet of survey doubling the cave total. Cave fauna and signs therein observed on this trip included a dozen pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat, two cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ), camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and aquatic isopods ( Caecidotea sp.). Newton County, Arkansas April 23, 2014 By Mark Jones Will Feltman took Scott Dankof, Mike Lace and me through the hoots n hollows of Newton County to visit According to Will the cave has an impressive borehole passage that terminates in a beautiful flowstone chamber. After talking with the landowner we set off to enjoy another day underground. Scott artfully maneuvered the FJ Cruiser up a switchback trail to the trail leading down to the entrance. A six foot diameter passage soon pancaked down to three foot high and twelve feet wide for a short distance before popping back into walking passage. Soon we lactites, soda straws and flowstone decades ago and sold in a roadside stand. Obvious signs of the pilfering of the formations were slowly being covered over by the redepositing of calcite but it will be a long time before the cave is fully healed. A narrow canyon cut under the upper level and wove from side to side as the passage trended off to the right. This arm extends three hundred feet before closing down. Turning to the left we dropped down to a wide, undulating passage that meandered for a hundred feet to a breakdown slope. I pursued a high upper crawl that pinched out while Mike wormed through another high lead in breakdown that opened up into B I G borehole. For the next five hundred feet the borehole was twenty to thirty feet high and sixty to a hundred feet wide with extensive breakdown covering the rolling floor. Scott photographed the borehole with the rest of us strategically located along the passage. Unfortunately several large pieces of breakdown were plastered with graffiti from years of visitation. Pushing through a hundred foot corridor of breakdown at the end of the borehole took us to the most decorated room in the cave. Beautiful red and brown formations covered nearly every inch of the ceiling, walls and floor. At the back of the chamber a trickle of water fell from the ceiling to a small pit. Scott was once again able to capture beautiful photographs of these formations. We spent three enAddendum: The only cave fauna we saw during the entire trip were pipistrelles or tri colored bats
70 ( Perimyotis subflavus ), but we did see over 150 of them. Shelter Caves Newton County, Arkansas April 24, 2014 By Mark Jones Scott Dankof and I drove to Mike kansas early in the morning for breakfast before heading to Ponca where we would put in the kayaks to float six hours down the Buffalo River. finish for the day and piled into stream. The forecast called for showers after noon but we were planning on having most of the trip completed by that time. As we were unloading the boats from the truck it began to sprinkle, four hours early. Undeterred by the precipitation we hopped into the kayaks starting our journey with gravel bars on the left and high bluffs on the right. able on the water than a dark shadow appeared on the bluff face. I beached my kayak and hiked the short distance up the bluff to a line of big breakdown blocks that had fallen resulting in a hundred foot long shelter. The stream action in the past had scoured the bluff causing the erosion that led to the formation of the cave. There was no indication that the cave had any passages running into the hill. Returning to my kayak I joined Scott and Mike to resume down the river. The high bluffs alternated from side to side and varied in height, the tallest bluff is an impressive 440 feet above the Buffalo River. Three fun filled hours later we beached our crafts to hike a half mile to Hemmed In Hollow. A 250 foot waterfall cascaded down the bluff to a shallow pool gouged into the rock. This waterfall is considered the tallest between the Rockies and the Appalachians. Scott was excited to photograph the waterfall in cloudy conditions since his other attempts were overexposed by too much sunlight. Several small waterfalls were noted along the trail until we reached Hemmed in Hollow. The wind had picked up during our half mile hike from the kayaks until it was gusting into the blind canyon. The small stream of water trickling over the edge high above us was swirled around by the wind producing a rain shower rather than a waterfall. This hour long detour was well worth the effort. Further down the river I saw another shelter up on the bluff that I investigated. Once again this was a shelter cave formed by the Buffalo River rather than the mouth of a cave system. Numerous other shelters were found along the way but were bypassed. Near the end of the float we beached the kayaks at a small infeeder stream marked with rock cairns that indicated a nearby photogenic waterfall. impressive as the one in Hemmed In Hollow but the stair stepping of the waterfalls was very pleasing. luck held out as overcast skies allowed him to capture the waterfall without too much sunlight. I visited another cave shelter in this canyon plored earlier. Nearly eleven miles from where we put in we reached spirits with plans to float the Buffalo River again. Allie Spring and Mill Creek Caves Pulaski County, Missouri April 25, 2014 By Mark Jones I arrived at the Allie Spring and Mill Creek Cave gating site around 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon intending to relax a bit before starting work Saturday morning. At the cabin Sherry McKnight told me that they had decided to work until dark since the weather was forecast to deteriorate on Sunday. Jim Cooley, Bill Gee and others had been cutting and welding
71 since Tuesday and wanted to complete the project ahead of schedule rather than risk running into next week. For the next four hours I assisted fabricating steel at the cutting station. Via walkie talkies accurate measurements were relayed from the gating site to the oxy acetylene cutting area where twenty foot long angle iron was chopped before being transported to be welded. The steel was moved with either a four wheel drive truck or an ATV. Numerous pieces were precisely cut and carefully delivered during this time. As the sun set additional people arrived to lend their particular skills or talents to the effort. April 26, 2014 Breakfast was over by 8:00 a.m. and we were back to work thirty minutes later with every intention of finishing the two cave gates today. For this operation I was located at the oxy acetylene cutting station along with Krista Bartel and Kiley Bush. My years of teaching high school agriculture has paid big dividends in gating caves since I taught the safe use of the cutting torch. Unlike teenagers the students that are in pils who are excited to learn a practical skill. (This spring I have successfully taught eight people how to properly use the oxy acetylene cutting torch.) Max White and Tricia Spear lugged the steel over hilly terrain to the cave where the remaining workers placed and welded each piece in the right location. Krista had a knack for using the cutting torch and she was happy to have the hands on experience of fabricating the steel. After lunch Kiley started cutting, but we soon discovered that the oxygen was running low. When students begin oxy acetylene cutting they tend to use more gas so Krista picked the torch back up rather than risk running out of oxygen. Thankfully by this time the gates were nearly completed so we were able to conserve the gas until we got the message that the welding was done. With the conclusion of the project Kiley and I packed up the cutting equipment and organized the remaining steel to be removed later. We finished up for the evening at 8:00 p.m. and headed back to the cabin for a fine meal of country spare ribs with April 27, 2014 With Allie Spring and Mill Creek Caves gated the only remaining part of the project was picking up the generators and other gating gear and to cut the twenty foot angle iron into a more manageable ten foot length. Krista Bartel and I used the portable oxy acetylene torch to cut the four inch angle iron but ran out We were able to hitch a ride to the caves on the final trip for the last generator to see the new gates. Allie Springs Cave has a six foot cupola gate mounted above it while Mill Creek Cave has a twelve foot gate across its entrance. Both of these gates should protect the caves for many years. Before leaving the caves I joined Sherry McKnight and Ben Porter in a quick peek into Mill Creek Cave. Crawling through the newly installed gate we bellycrawled twenty feet down an easy slope to the first room. I had sketched this section of cave the last time I was here and still remember it as the prettiest part of the cave. Formations of all kinds covered the ceiling and walls with several fascinating large stalactite tables scattered around the room. Long ago an event (earthquake?) broke these six foot long stalactites from the ceiling and they poked into the muddy floor. The flat tops of the stalactites were recoated in flowstone giving them an interesting appearance. In addition oodles of smaller stalactites and stalagmites were strewn about the room and cemented to the floor by flowstone. Sherry and Ben continued
73 deeper into the cave while I turned around for the entrance. April 28, 2014 It was down to Jim Cooley and me on Monday to finish cleaning up after the Allie Spring and Mill Creek Cave gatings. Everyone else had left Sunday to beat the storms projected to arrive that day. The weather did indeed turn nasty with numerous alerts being issued by the National Weather Service. During a break in the storms on Sunday the landowner and Jim drove down to the caves to admire the work done by the volunteers over the past six days. Early on Monday morning Jim and I went to Rolla to get more acetylene gas to cut the relengths. Returning to the cabin we gear and hooked up the trailer to haul the generators. In spite of the rain during the past twenty four hours the landowner was able to take his four wheel drive truck with a trailer up and down the hills to the cutting site to retrieve the remaining steel. In no time the metal was cut and loaded on the trailer. Two trips were necessary to get everything back to the cabin. The project was officially closed at 2:15 p.m. Onyx Cave and Onyx Cave Annex, Slaughter and Conical Sinks Pulaski County, Missouri April 27, 2014 By Mark Jones Onyx Cave With plenty of time to spare after finishing the Allie Spring and Mill Creek Cave gatings Krista Bartel, Kiley Bush, Jim Cooley, Andy Free, Tricia Spear, Joe Williams, Max White and I drove over to nearby Onyx Cave (PUL027) to investigate the breaching of the cave gate installed a couple of years ago. Onyx Cave was a commercial cave at one time that had decorative quality. Unfortunately as is often the case in cave exploitation a great deal of time and money was spent in this venture but little thought was given. was located in the back of the cave and would be too difficult to bring it out through a watercrawl to the bluff entrance so they blasted open a hundred and ten foot shaft at the top of the ridge. A crane was situated above the shaft to swing over and lift the tons of onyx out. Sinking the shaft into the cave caused the humidity to drop and the onyx degraded into dull, chalky limestone. Still onyx was hauled out until the whole ugly business collapsed in financial ruin. After this the cave was opened up into a tourist attraction for several decades before finally being brought into the Mark Twain National Forest. Parking near the old visitor center shaft entrance. Standing six feet high this gate successfully protects the cave and its fauna while also protecting an unsuspecting wanderer from plummeting to their death. Passing by the visitor center we noticed that vandals were busying themselves with more wanton destruction of public property. Following the concrete trail down the hillside we snaked around three hundred feet to the natural entrance in the bluff. The main entrance is gated with a twenty four foot long by eight foot high bat gate with a swinging door. While Jim and Joe inspected the gate the rest of the party descended down a gentle slope into the cave. At the bottom of the slope a small stream flows under a wooden bridge and disappears into the floor. The passage splits soon after the bridge into walking on the left and stooping on the right. Taking the right arm we followed the stream for fifty feet to an overlook that marked the end of the tourist trail. The stream passage meanders several hundred feet back to the shaft room and thousands of feet beyond. (The total surveyed length of
74 the cave is 7,950 feet.) In this area Andy pointed out several paleo bear beds along the back wall. Returning to the walking passage to the left we walked up a wide, easy sidewalk that had been installed during its show cave era. Soon signs of extensive excavation were obvious as the sidewalk cut into flowstone mounds for easier access for the tours. shame that many formations were destroyed but on the other the digging did expose interesting cross sections of flowstone layers. This area had extensive examples of stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, helictites, columns and flowstone mounds. Most of these formations were iron rich resulting in their rusty, red color. The trail ended at a nicely decorated flowstone room although at the back there is a tunnel that was dug to the shaft room. Cave fauna observed included nine pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), an Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) midden, a cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ), ten larval salamanders and some camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ). Onyx Cave Annex After finishing up our investigation of Onyx Cave we hiked over to Onyx Cave Annex (PULXXX) to reconnoiter it following reports of cold, blowing air. Krista Bartel, Kiley Bush, Jim Cooley, Andy Free, and I pushed into the cave while Tricia Spear, Joe Williams and Max White remained outside. The four foot diameter entrance is located in a small rock outcropping with a dusty, dry anteroom that quickly splits into two crawlways. I took the smaller one on the right that was the source of the cool breeze while Jim opted to go left. I was in an easy fifty foot crawl gradually closes down before pinching out in a critter crawl. Backing up I scooted over to the left crawlway that was dryer and roomier. This passage also closed down in about fifty feet in a critter crawl. No cave fauna were noted in this cave. Slaughter and Conical Sinks On the way back to the highway Andy Free led Krista Bartel, Kiley Bush, Tricia Spear, Max White and I to Slaughter Sink in the Mark Twain National Forest. Parking alongside the road we hiked a quarter mile along the hillside trail that extended to a rocky overlook sixty feet above the sink floor. Andy explained the hydrology of the area and pointed out several interesting features of the sink. I was very impressed with the sheer size of the collapse. Across from the parking area is Conical Sink which for decades was used as a garbage pit by the local populace. In 2008 the National Forest Service focused on cleaning up the sinkhole and educating the people about sinkholes in karst. Several caving organizations and other service groups volunteered to assist in this worthwhile project which resulted in 156 tires and tons of steel being recycled as well as tons of trash being properly disposed at a landfill. After the cleanup was finished the lip of the sink was fenced off to prevent further dumping. Sutherland Cave (SHN464) Shannon County, Missouri April 29, 2014 By Mark Jones After dropping Larry Shaffield off at his home Brenda mentioned that there was a nice cave just up the road. Always ready to hit another cave we turned down a Forest Service road to a parking area that was only a short hike to the cave. Sutherland Cave has three entrances, a sinkhole, a watercrawl and a walking. Our plan was to hike to the easier walking entrance. The temperature began cooling down on our walk down the trail alterred. Soon we arrived at the twelve foot diameter entrance that ran back into the hillside. The first room was littered with breakdown blocks and
75 cobble with several dead flowstone formations on the ceiling. Forty feet into the cave a small stream flowing ahead of us disappeared into a watercrawl on the right. A wetsuit would be needed to proceed down this passage so we opted to go stoopwalking upstream. The rocky water channel wove back and forth across the floor around mudbanks deposited over the centuries. A couple of campfire sites were seen along the way but no graffiti was found. A hundred feet upstream the ceiling began closing in which would require crawling, somethis trip. Two pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) and a larval salamander were observed during this outing. On previous visits Brenda had the good fortune to find some planarians ( Sphalloplana sp. ) in the water but none were found today. These flatworms dine on the leaf litter that washes through the cave. This would be an interesting cave to delve into during lower stream flow. Thirty minutes were spent in Sutherland Cave. Lewis Cave Ripley County, Missouri April 29, 2014 By Mark Jones At 9:00 a.m. Jim Cooley and I met with Brenda Goodnight and Larry Shaffield to drive down to Lewis Cave ing project from March. Today we were going to post the cave entrance with signage that indicated that management of the cave was under the auspices of the Missouri Cave and Karst Conservancy. With the recent rains the spring entrance was at its highof caving in Lewis Cave. Jim opened the newly installed gate while the rest of us carried the sign and tools the short distance to the cave. The sign was placed inside the gate to give visitors contact information if they want to explore the cave. With the sign posted Brenda and I trekked off to see more of the cave but were quickly denied by the high water at the first water crossing. In spite of this setback we returned to the alcove room off to the right of the entrance to see the formations in that area. Many of the formations were active with water trickling from the ceiling down to the floor. Three cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ) were observed in this area. I envision that a proper gate on this cave will soon be benefitting not only the formations but the fauna. With the completion of five cave gates, the equipment and gear needed to be inventoried and maintained before putting it away for the summer. George Billbrey arrived at Powder Mill Research Center at 10:00 a.m. to service two of the generators while I began organizing the rest of the equipment. I emptied all the tubs and buckets, sorting into several piles that I eventually inspected, cleaned, organized and inventoried. All of the cables, wires and hoses were inspected and cleaned before packing them in their appropriate box. Any defective tools were discarded and a list of replacements was noted. George completed his maintenance in four hours while it took me six hours to finish packing away all the gear.
76 Aragonite in Carlsbad Caverns. Photo by Ed Klausner Northern Arkansas shelter cave. Photo by Scott Dankof.
Intercomis a publication of the Iowa Grotto of the
National Speleological Society, Inc., an internal
organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). The
Iowa Grotto, is dedicated to the exploration, study, and
conservation of caves.