Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another New Deckers Creek Cave

I went on a lazy afternoon hike along Deckers Creek this afternoon and located a promising area with a dry streambed that cuts entirely through the thickness of the Greenbrier. With very little effort, I discovered a new cave located up the bank in a narrow, 8-foot deep sink walled by an outcropping of the upper Wymps Gap member. An opening leads down into an entrance room, which is about 8 feet in diameter and 6 - 8 feet high. A fissure passage leads off for about 15 feet and then rounds a turn, beyond which I did not explore (I was armed with nothing but a small pocket light). This area needs to be ridge walked, as it has potential.

Edit: I re-visited this new cave to GPS it, and snapped a few photos. The cave appears to be formed along enlarged vertical joints that combine to form the room at the entrance. The entrance room is about 12 feet at its highest point, with a low lead, about 2 feet high, on the right side. The left side is a fissure passage, up to 15 feet high or higher, and up to 4 feet wide, which goes back for about 15 feet and then appears too tight to follow. The fissure passage bells out at the bottom, and there may be more passage down at that level. The strata looks very similar to that visible in Nuttinbuttawett Pit, which is also formed in the uppermost parts of the Greenbrier; limestone beds are varying shades of grey, blue, and tan, with several containing nice fossils, and a thin layer of tan shale which easily weathers away.

Entrance to the new cave, with helmet for scale.

A portion of the visible strata, showing the weathered tan shaley bed.

Looking down the fissure passage from the Entrance Room. The floor of this passage drops down several feet below the floor of the first room, and bells out at the bottom.

From the Entrance Room, looking up and out into the forest.

The low lead heads off under the entrance from the Entrance Room. It is about 2 feet high, and not as narrow as it appears in this photo.

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