Maroon Town

Jamaican Caving Notes

South Trelawny
Caving News
Jamaican Caves Organization
JCO Main Page
JCO Funding and Tours
Contact: JamaicanCaves.Org

Black River Head
(Black River Blue Hole)

May 31, 2006, 13:30-14:00 EST


District: Raheen

Parish: St Elizabeth

WGS84 L/L: 18 11 22.0 N; 77 40 59.5 W


JAD69: 177613 E, 170812 N

JAD2001: 677724 E, 671101 N

Altitude: 140m WGS84

Accuracy: +/- 10m horizontal; +/- 20m vertical

Type: Impenetrable rising

Accessibility: Impenetrable

Depth: N/A

Length: N/A

Explorers: JCC - 1976

Survey: None

JU Ref: Text - pg 95, 157; Map - N/A


Entrance size: 20m wide (Impenetrable)

Entrance aspect: Zenith

Vegetation in general locale: Farm

Vegetation at entrance: Meadow

Rock type: Alluvial

Bedding: Undetermined

Jointing: Undetermined

Speleothems: N/A

Palaeo resources: N/A

Archaeo resources: N/A

Hydrology: Wet

Siltation: Low

Sink: N/A

Rising: Active

Stream passage with surface activity: Moderate flow

Stream passage without surface activity: N/A

Dark zone: 0%

Climate: Ambient external.

Trog species: N/A.

Visitation: Frequent - Pumphouse.

Speleothem damage: N/A

Graffiti: None

Garbage: None

Ownership: Govt

Protection: Undetermined


Vulnerability: Medium. The vulnerability of this important rising is in its unknown source, rather than the rising itself. The conjectural flow is along a structural line extending to the NW into the Quick Step area, and it may be associated with the waters that seasonally flood certain low-lying cockpits from Sawmill (including Marta Tick) to Minocal's Glory Hole.


Black River Head
May 31, 2006
Team: RS Stewart, E Slack, K John, M Newman.
Notes: RS Stewart

Black River Blue Hole (listed as Black River Head in Jamaica Underground) was visited in assistance to Kimberly John, of The Nature Conservancy, as part of a water quality sampling project. It is not a spelo site, as such, but it is very possibly associated with known upstream caves and/or sinkholes.

The two holes found here are quite close together, and joined by a stream that continues on to become the main source of the Black River. On this day, we visited only one of the holes. It is indeed very blue, and quite pretty to look at. The water is relatively clear, although suspended clay prevents seeing down through it for any great depth. The hole is said to be deep (Fincham in Jamaica Underground), and it certainly appears to be so when viewed from a good vantage point at the edge of it. A pumphouse is located beside it, which extracts water for the domestic water supply in this part of the parish, with this in operation during the time of our visit.

As noted above, our information is that the source of this rising has not been determined. To establish this will not be easy, as there are a number of possible sources, and tracing would no doubt involve a series of these until success is achieved. [If anyone who reads these notes knows of a successful tracing that has been done that we're not aware of, please contact us with the details.]

We visited this site following Coffee River Cave. Our stay here was brief, and took a total of perhaps 20 minutes, this being spent by Kimberly filling bottles for sampling purposes. While this was happening, I got a good GPS position, with 8 satellites, although no WAAS (the satellite has had its geosynch orbital position shifted in the last months, and it is now lower on the horizon than before - however, a new satellite due for launch soon should improve things).

Next on the agenda was Nanny Cave, a rising in the nearby district of Thornton. Elizabeth and I led the way on the drive out to the main road in a rather haphazard and confusing manner, since this was our first time on these particular roads, but once this was done, we navigated a course in a somewhat better fashion to reach our next target.

Location of Black River Head plotted on the 1:50k metric topos.


Black River Head plotted on a 30m DEM with the Conjectural Flow as indicated by Fincham. Darker is higher.


Jamaican Cave Notes - Main PageJune 2006 Caving Notes - Main Page