The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

Material Information

The Texas Caver
Series Title:
The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Contents: Great Mud Cave / Tom Byrd -- Map: Great Mud Cave -- Cavern development in the south Texas coastal plain / Ernst Kastning -- Map: Lake Corpus Christi Cave -- Cave diving / Tom IIliffe -- Center fold / Glenda Kunath -- Kirschke Cave / Ronnie Fieseler -- Map: Kirschke Cave -- Wedding of Terry Jan.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 20, no. 06 (1975)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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Resource Identifier:
K26-04594 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4594 ( USFLDC Handle )
11328 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

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the TexascaveR Volume 20. No.6 C ONTENTS GREAT MUD CAVETom Byrd ............. 88 NAP -Great Mud Cave .................. 89 CAVERN DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTH TEXAS COASTAL PLAINErnst Kastning ..... 90 NAPLake Corpus Christi Cave ........ 92 CAVE DIVING-Tom Iliffe .............. 93 CENTER FOLDGlenda Kunath ........... 94 KIRSCHKE CAVERonnie Fieseler ....... 97 MAPKirschke Cave ................... 98 WEDDING OF TERRY & JAN ................ 99 PHOTO CREDITS: FRONT COVER: Pete Lindsley looks over a rath e r unusual helictite. Photo by Carl Kunath. INSIDE FRONT COVER: Jon Everage and Dick Smith light up part of the water passage in Indian Creek Cave. Photo by C. Kunath. CONTENTS PAGE PHOTO: Len Lindsay gets 1dde e yed a t some war clubs in Caverns of Sonor a Photo by Carl Kunath. CENTER FOLD: Glenda Kunath takes a close look a t the "Diamond Horeshoe" in Caverns of Sonora. Photo by Carl Kunath. INSIDE BACK COVER: Lee Warrington on a ledge before the ladder drop in Sotano de l a Tinaj a Photo by Carl Kunath. All editorial communications including subscriptions should be addressed to the Editor James J asek. 5315 Laurel Lake Waco. Texas 7 67 10 phone (817) 776-1727 The Texas Caver openly invites co ntributors to submit articles reports news gossip. cartoons, diagrams, illustrations and photographs All material must be labelled with the name and address of the sender. If mat e rial is to be returned a fter publication please Include a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postag e Subscriptions a r e $4 50 per year (U. S ) and $9 60 elsewhere (air mail to insur e delivery) Persons subscribing after the first of the year will receive all back issues for that year Single cop1es are available at 45 each postpaid ( U S .), or 80 eac h elsewhere (postpaid-a ir mail) The Texas Caver is a monthly public a tion of the Texas Speleological Association (TSA) an internal organization of the Nati onal Spe l eo logi ca l Societ y (NSS) The TSA officers for 1975 a r e Chairman-Fred Pascal Vice Chairman-Wayne Russell. and S ec retary / Tre asurer-Ba rbra Vinson


GREAT MUD CAVE Several years ago, Mike Warton, of the Balcones Grotto, go t a lead on a newly discovered cave in Williamson County. The cave had been found as a result of acore drilling, which had been carried out to determine a good, stable location for an industrial site. The drilling revealed a void in the bedrock which was further opened up by the drilling of a 30 inch core. Satisfied that the cave might be a construction hazard, the site was rejected, and the cave remained unexplored. Mike and several other cavers entered the cave and were the first to exploreit. A year or two l a ter, at a grotto meeting, Mike showed a few slides he had taken on that first exploration trip. He referred to it as "Corehole Cave" and said that it harln't been fully explored. 88 by TOM BYRD So Jim Moore a nd I decided to check it out. It took one aborted trip and about e i ght months before we finally got in. Our first trip consisted of Jim Moor e Charlotte Rogers, and myself. All possible leads were checked and we emerged from the cave completely covered with several inches of red clay. We were so muddy th a t I couldn't distinguish Jim from Charlotte. As we de-rigged in the moonlight, I was surprised to hear voice coming from what I thought was Jim's muddy form. A simple mistake considering the mud. We began refering to the cave as "Great Mud Cave" and adopted that name to aviod confusion, since the na:ne ''Corehole Cave" had on ce refered to nearby Inner Space Cav ern


and several other similarly found caves in Williamson County. On subsequent trips, Andy Grubbs joined us to collect millipedes and amphipods for Bill Elliott and to map the cave. The cave is not a large one but is interesting, nevertheless. To enter it, one must use a cable ladder or a rope to descend the perfectly round shaft. The corehole is 30 inches wide at the fop and 12 meters deep. Once at the bottom, one can see the low, muddy passage leading off in two directions. The cave floor, covered with a thick red clay, is easy on the crawler's knees. The ceiling is generally flat and undecorated, yet broken in some places by collapse and by the joint along which the cave was formed. The passage, itself, is low and wide and d oes not show evidence of solution, b ecause most of the cave has resulted from the collapse of the ceiling after s olution; so that the floor is really b r eakdown covered with red clay. The limestone is thin bedded with interbedded l ayers of clay, which accounts for the ceiling instability. Only along some w alls and in the side passages are there solution features. At each end of the c ave, the passage is choked off with breakdown In the north end of the cave are some nice bacon rinds and some stalactites and a few formations in the .... ... 1111111 central part of the cave, too, but generally the cave has few formations. On several trips we noted varying water levels, not attributable to any recent rains. The first trip revealed only a few small pools of water; on the last trip, however, the whole South end was flooded. The cave's general trend from the southeast to the northwest may be attributed to the main joint, but in addition to this, its north-south trend (like that of Inner Space) is probably due to its location. Located between Brushy Creek and the South San Gabriel River, this cave may have been part of a system which carried groundwater from the creek to the river. The cave obviously once continued beyond the point where breakdown now limits it, so that similar cave exists on the other side. It's amazing to think how close the core drillers carne to missing the cave. They drilled into one of the narrower sections, and had they drilled a few meters east or west of their random drilling locations, they surely would have missed the cave entirely. Had this happened, we wouldn't know about the cave and none of this would matter. An industrial site might have been built there, and no one would know of the Great Mud Cave. GREAT IUD CAVE l tllitu Ct.,Tnn Sntlt &Tr,. Sunr 11111 5 Jr MHrt Chrltlllltltrl ,. .. ,,. Ctililf hi1U1 i t atttn 89


Cavern Development in the South Texas Coastal Plain On the Sunday following the September 28, 1974 TSA Board of Governors meeting at Padre Island National Seashoreseveral of us went cave hunting on the shores of Lake Corpus Christi State Park in western San Patricio County. Some months previous A. Richard Smith had told me of a possible cave at the park, a rumor he had been told at one time. Caves located in unexpected places and those dismissed "not worth the bother" have always fascinated me. Caves such as these, more often than not, are anomalous in their genesis or their host rocks, and provide interesting vignettes of cavern origin. I have sought out many small, but "rare" caves in various places. Included are talus, litoral, glacial, volcanic, and tectonic caves. One in Texas that has fascinated me is the exfoliationsliding derived talus cave atop Enchanted Rock. So, it was a natural inclination to find and study the cave(s) of Lake Corpus Christi. 90 by ERNST KASTNING We had no trouble finding the cave. Within five minutes of arrlVlng at the park headquarters building, we were in an actual dissolution cave at the shoreline (see location map and photo). It is reached by a short trail leading northwest from the main building to a ledge 13 feet above lake level. The cave is developed paralled to the lakeside cliff face ( see accompaying survey of cave). Averaging only 1.8 feet high, it is essentially linear and becomes too tight after 29 feet. By turning around (actually backing in) and looking out, one can view the lake (see photo). Karen and I noted two joints cutting across the passage and a very dusty dry floor. We made note of the bedrock lethology, viewed similar cliff lines across the lake and left for home. Subsequently, I did a bit of research on geology of the area and offer a summary here. A brief account of the geology of the


state park is given by Garner (1970). The cave is developed in the Goliad formation of Pliocene (Tertiary) age. This had been mapped earlier as the Quaternary Reynosa formation (Deussen, 1924). The Goliad formation is a. calcareous-arenaceous, medium-grained conglomerate (Barnes, 1975). Sand and gravel grains have been cemented with a caliche matrix. Many arenaceous formatlons of the coastal plain provide plentiful sand and gravel resources (Garner. 1967). Price (1958) suggests that the Reynosa caprock caliche of the Goliad formation is a loess-derived unit deposited by offshore winds as the Reynose escarpment retreated during post -Pliocene erosion. Calichification and loess accumulation were penecontemporaneous. A caliche matrix is soluble as are all carbonates. However, cavern enlargement is accelerated by an increase in friability and erodability of residual grains upon matrix dissolution. The Nueces River elevation was approximately 40 to 50 feet below the cave prior to the construction of the Lake Corpus Christi dam. The U.S.G.S. 15-minute Mathis Quadrangle from 1927 shows a half-mile flood plain near the cave. The 1954 Mathis 15-minute quadrangle indicated a lake level about 25 feet below its present position. Presently, spillway elevation is about 13 feet below the cave. A check pf the maximum closed gate position at the dam indicated that the highest possible lake level could not reach the cave, thus precluding development of the cave as shoreline erosion subsequent to lake construction. Presumably, the cave formed while the Nueces River occupied a higher elevation than the 1927 map indicates. Local water table at the cave during the Pleistocene epoch would have allowed phreatic speleogenesis. Potential for other caves in the Lake Corpus Christi vicinity is considerable. The Goliad formation is cliff forming along most of the lake's western shore (Barnes, 1975). A particularly promising area is along Millers Bluff of the western three miles north of the Live Oak -Jim Wells county line. Moreover, other calichified formations of the area may contain caves as well, particularly the Quaternary Beaumont and Lissis formations. Size of other caves in the area will undoubtedly be small because the calichified zone is of limited thickness (10 feet or less) and well-integrated groundwater flow paths have not developed. Nevertheless, any caves located south or east of the Balcones Escarpment are rare and unusual. Finding a cave so close to the Gulf of Mexico is enjoyable in itsel References Cited: Barnes, Virgil E. (Project Director), 1975, Geologic Atlas of Texas, BeevilleBay City Sheet: Bureau of Economic Geology. Deussen, Alexander, 1924, Geology of the Coastal Plain of Texas west of Brazos River: United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 126, 145 p. plus 3 plates. Garner, L. Edwin, 1967, Sand resources of Texas Gulf Coast: Bureau of Economic Geology Report of Investigation No. 60, 85 p. plus 1 plate. Garner, L. Edwin, 1970, Lake Corpus Christi State Recreation Park and Lipantitlan Historic Site, in Maxwell, Ross A., Geologica and Historic Guide to the State Parks of Texas: Bureau of Economic Geology Guidebook 10, p. 128. Price, W. Armstrong, 1958, Sedimentary and quaternary geomorphology of South Texas: Transactions -Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, v. 8, p. 41-75. 91


LAKE CORPUS CHRISTl CAVE SAN PATRICIO CO., TEXAS Brunton and tape survey 29 September 1974 by E Kastning, K. Clement, C Allison, W. Russell, and J. Kwasnik Drawn and drafted by K. Clement and E. Kastning 5 0 5 10 15 Scal e In teet Too tight ,, (]) (/) ...... 10-20-74 Clift Dusty dry throughout, Sand and pebble floor


CAVE DIVING Cave diving is today one of the newest and most rapidly growing forms of subterranean exploration. Attracted by 1varm, clear water and strikingly beautiful limestone formations, as many as 100,000 divers each year have come to the underwater springs and caves of north and central Florida. In the last decade, this area has become the undisputed cave diving center of the world. While living for three years in Florida, I was able to dive regulary in the springs, sinkholes and caves of the region. One of my most memorable cave dives occurred in the Manatee Spring cave system, located in a state park near Chiefland,Florida. Manatee is a large, first magnitude spring having a f low of 96 million gallons per day. It is connected by a short, cypress bordered run to the Swannee River. The first underwater traverse ever made took place in 1961 between Manatee Springs and a weed covered sinkhole 500 feet away, known as Catfish Hotel. A traverse is accomplished when divers descend into one hole and emerge from another. In addition to the traverse between the h eadsprings and Catfish Hotel, two other sinks have recently been linked to the cave, permitting divers to progress almost three quarters of a mile through the main cavern from the spring. In August of 1973, two friends, both expert cave divers, invited me to join them on a dive in the Manatee cave. After camping out near the spring on Friday night, we arose early Saturday to begin our dive. We decided to start from the sink 700 feet down the cave from Catfish Hotel. Each diver had complete cave diving equipment including twin 90 cubic foot air tanks, regulator with extra mouthpiece, two lights, buoyancy compensator, submersible tank pressure gauge, depth gauge, watch and dive tables. by TOM ILIFFE The sink we chose to enter was about 150 feet in diameter. A heavy layer of duckweed covered the sink to the extent that water's surface appeared as a flat green carpet. However, once below this thin green film, the water was air clear. In the center of the small shallow sink, a narrow vertical fissure in the limestone bedrock disappeared into the blackness of the cave deep below. As we descended through the crack, our lights picked up the jagged limestone walls on either side. At a depth of 80 feet this natural well bottomed out and we found ourselves on the side of a large passageway, 30 feet wide by 15 feet high. The dark rock walls around us seemed to swallow up the beams of even the brightest lights. In addition, silt carried in suspension by this underground river further lessened the visibility so that we could see no more than 25 feet. Continued page 96 93


Starting upstream, we followed the permanent nylon safety line laid out down the main passage as it led us into the darkness. Several hundred feet from our entrance point, we came to a section known as the bone room. Here the current had uncovered a clay strata in which were imbedded fossile bones dating back to 10,000 years ago. Unfortunately due to our limited air supply, we were forced to continue after only a hasty look. Not far from the bone room, the passage began to ben upwards over a jumble of boulders. Entering a dome room over this hill of fallen rock, we found our depth gauges reading only 25 feet. Immediately the passage ahead descended and we were soon back to the 80 foot level. By now our tank pressures had dropped from their initial 2250 p.s.i. to near 1700. Our turn-around point using the one-third rule* would be 1500 p.s.i .. As we continued on, my thoughts turned to the third sinkhole which reportedly lay ahead. I began to wonder if we would *The one third rule divides a cave divers air supply into three equal parts. One third is used on the way into the cave, one third on the way out, and one third saved in reserve for the worst emergencya total air failure by one of the divers at maximum penetration. 96 ... -reach it before our diminishing air supply caused us to start back. -." Then ahead of us another rocky upslope came into view. However there was some thing different about this one. Several small logs and a scattering of leaves lay among the rocks. Far. ahead a faint ray of light beamed down into the black ness of the cavern. We had at last reach ed the third sinkhole by traversing through 1000 feet of submerged passage. One at a time we swam up through the narrow chimney leading to the surface. As I ascended, my tanks scraped against the rock wall behind me. Then almost before realizing it, I had broken the surface and could take my first welcom e breath of fresh air. We were in a small water-filled depression 30 feet in diameter. This was hardly more than a mud hole. Dead trees stood in the water around us belying the depths below. One would never guess that this was a n entrance to a vast subterranean river system. There was nothing to distinguish this from a dozen other small sinks nearby. We had glided through silent underground passages, seen sights that few others had witnessed and come out with memories that would be relived over many times. This was truly an unforgettable experience. MOVING? Be sure to send The Texas Caver your new as well as your old address to keep your copies of The Texas Caver deliv e red without interruption THE TEXAS CAVER-53 7 5 Laurel Lake-Waco. Texas 7 6 7 I 0


KIRSCHKE CAVE Kirschke Cave was located during the 1 972 TSA project in Kendall County. Craig Bittinger and Paul Duncan had been t o the ranch a year or two earlier and h ad been told of some leads on the ranch, but that they would have to come back at a later date. With Ronnie Fieseler and Barbara Vinson, they finally returned to the ranch, this time to meet with success. T he ranch owner took them to one sink which was totally filled with debris and trash, and would require much digging to go anywhere. However, the second one turned out to be the prize of the day, and in fact, of the whole project. The entrance is located in the end of a small drainage arroyo and is sort of a climb-down over and through some rocks and debris. We began mapping at the e ntrance and headed into the cave. The rocky crawl leading from the entrance is a three foot high passage trending in a northwest to southeast d irection. This is the general trend of the whole cave. After about 20-25 feet, an impassible crawl behind a flow stone wall leads off to the right and eventually connects back into the main passage after about 35 feet. To the left the cave continues past a tight crawl. The start of this crawl was originally plugged with rocks which we removed. From this point on, the cave was virgin. After about 40 feet of 2-3 foot high and 4-5 wide passage, the cave becomes a one foot high squeeze through some formations. A crawl of 25 feet leads to a 3 foot drop from which a 2-6 foot high, 100 foot long irregular passage continues with a rock and silt floor to another squeeze. This is the lowest point in the cave at a -39.4 feet below the entrance. A 40 foot long, 2 foot high, silt floor passage continues, followed by a 45 degree angle to the right down a 25 foot long passage by RONNIE FIESELER which doubles back on itself and forms the terminal room of the cave. Total length of the cave is about 300 feet. While not the sort of cave you would make a special trip to see, it was an interesting cave regardless. Of great interest was the fact that it was formed along a very strong joint. A hike on the surface discovered no evidence of any drainage into the cave other than the arroyo at the entrance. The only animal life noted were some crickets, beetles, and harvestmen of which a few were collected. It was also fun to find and explore a relatively large (for Texas) virgin cave so close to a heavily caved area. About three hours were spent in the cave, including the time spent mapping. Unfortunately, none of us had our cameras along, and no photographs were taken.


98 KIRSCHKE CAVE Kendall County Suunto & lope Survey 2 September 1972 Ronnie Fieseler Barbara Vinson Paul Duncan Craig Bittinger Drafted Morch,Moy, 1973 Ronnie & Susan Fieseler 0 25 3 r 6 50 100 Feet m 5 _oy __


Wedding ol Terry a Jan Mimi Jasek William Russell Andy Brian Grubbs Peterson Kandy Peterson HERE COMES THE BRIDE Craig Bittinger JAN LEWIS Mr. Raines TERRY RAINES HERE COMES THE GROOM




THE MOMENT FINALLY ARRIVED, AND CRAIG BEGAN TO READ THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY, WRITTEN BY TERRY AND JAN ..... It is by great fortune that we are now gathered here in the darkened realm of Oztotl to initiate and celebrate a most joyous happening As the route was not easy. At times we might have but as the trees of the outer world grow we continue blessed with the perseverance of the Cave God. He has inspired us with the Lust of Darkness. He has brought us here; here to t he serene comfort of our true home. As we sit here with we feel the exhilaration of isolation. It is here tha t we endure the hardships and elate to the knowing that we all are together. We depend on one another to survive and on Oztotl to guide us ever in searc:h of knowledge and the true understanding of His world. As we sit we see the flickering light of the musk candle illuminating the walls of this place we love. The once -living primeval ooze now forms the medium o f our rebirth. It gives to each of us a and sometimes necessity o f life. It is in this spirit that Terry and Jan now come to this home of Oztotl t o receive his blessing and proclaim to all friends of the underworld their love fo r one another as husband and wife. by their marriage is r ecognized by a corrupt and deceitful they wish the sincere meaning of their marriage to be withiry their and the hearts o.f their friends. T hey wish too for a relationship charq_cterized by a loving devotion between them their and the stu dy of caves. In the true spirit ofspeleology, we now wish to share with all the food of Oztotl: pure ca vern water and subterranean and to begin the life-long celebration.




The Texas Caver 5315 Laurel Lake Waco Texas 7671 0 Forwarding Postage Guaranteed Address Correction Requested 638 W es t bury Squa r e H ous t on T exas 77035 (71 3) 72 1 1 530 624 Tow n & Coun try Village H o u s t on 77024 461-3550 BULK RATE U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 1423 Waco, Tx. 76710 : l ( 0\-----"'

Contents: Great Mud
Cave / Tom Byrd --
Map: Great Mud Cave --
Cavern development in the south Texas coastal plain /
Ernst Kastning --
Map: Lake Corpus Christi Cave --
Cave diving / Tom IIliffe --
Center fold / Glenda Kunath --
Kirschke Cave / Ronnie Fieseler --
Map: Kirschke Cave --
Wedding of Terry & Jan.


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