Jamaican Caving Notes
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Black Hill Cave-2 Report
Prepared by RS Stewart and JL Pauel, Jamaican Caves Organisation (JCO),
for the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO)
September 25, 2011
Black Hill Cave-2, Portland, was assessed on September 24, 2011, by RS Stewart and JL Pauel of the JCO at the request of TPDCO. Assessment parameters were extant biota, archaeological resources, hydrological significance, and the impact on such by visitation for tourism purposes.
The site is a small chamber cave with three entrances and several lightholes. The entrance used to access the cave is located at (by request only) N, (by request only) W, WGS84, +/- 3m, which is 2.7 km southwest of the coast in the parish of Portland, Jamaica. The elevation is 360m WGS84 +/- 10m. The depth of the cave is approximately 8m, and the length is approximately 30m. According to the criteria defined in the JCO Cave Use Guidelines, it is classified as a minor site.
The cave appears to match the description for Black Hill Cave-2 given in Jamaica Underground, by AG Fincham, and we have therefore designated it as such in this report.
The cave has a bat-roost with total numbers estimated to be under 500. Species make-up is limited to the Jamaican fruit bat, Artibeus jamaicensis.
No cave-obligate (troglobytic) invertebrates are present due to the absence of any true dark zone. That is, the entire cave receives some amount of light during the day, with much of it being brightly lit. The only invertebrates seen were terrestrial species that also live in the surrounding forest.
Eleutherodactylus cundalli, the trogloxene frog, is present.
The cave has no standing or flowing water. Input is limited to rainwater that enters the cave through the lightholes.
The humidity and temperature are outside ambient.
No pictograms, petroglyphs, potsherds were seen, and there is no evidence of Amerindian use. Fossiliferous breccia is not present. Quaternary vertebrate fossils may be present in the sediment on the floor, but this was not investigated during the site visit.
The cave has formed in poorly-consolidated white limestone and is partially collapsed. Two completely collapsed chambers adjoin the existing cave on the east and north sides. The site has stopped developing and is a “fossil cave”. What remains will eventually collapse completely and it will no longer exist as a cave.
Stalactites, stalagmites, and similar formations are present and will continue to develop until the cave collapses. Some of these are very clean, and may be aesthetically pleasing to visitors.
According to the JCO Cave Use Guidelines, visitation for tourism purposes is possible. The one bat species present, A. jamaicensis, is relatively tolerant, not threatened, and occurs in the cave in low numbers. The frog E. cundalli is also tolerant of visitation. There are no cave-obligate invertebrate species that will be affected. Hydrological connectivity is not a factor. There is no evidence of Amerindian use. That said, the site should not be altered to accommodate visitation other than to improve access by way of stairs or a ladder. There should be no permanent lighting, alteration to speleothems, or widespread changes to the floor surface.
A follow-up visit to carry out a mapping survey may be of interest to the community associations involved in the project, but there is no real need to do so. Further exploration is also not necessary as we do not see the potential for continuation of the cave beyond what we found during the rapid assessment.
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