Jamaican Caving Notes
May 11, 2005
Team: Stewart, Conolley, Slack
Notes: RS Stewart
Mexico Cave is the rising for Wallingford River Cave, and is essentially the same system, with the connecting passage underwater at all times. The flow though the cave happens year-round, but is greater in rainy-times.
On May 11, 2005, when we were there, it was impossible for us to get in, although we gave it a good try. The current of the river that flows out of the wide entrance was very strong. An attempt was made to traverse along the wall, somewhat out of the water, inside of the entrance on the southeast side, but large stalactites got in the way.
Despite our inability to enter the cave, we were able to georeference the entrance during the visit. In addition, we are familiar with the upstream part of the system, Wallingford River Cave, so we can make some good guesses on what will be found in this part.
Sesarma spp. will be found in great numbers. Wallingford River Cave takes much detritus from the Rotten Gut River (which will take the name One Eye River once it exits Mexico Cave), and the numbers of Sesarma are great. This nutrient input will also be available at Mexico, so it is expected that they will also be found in Mexico. We state it as Sesarma spp, because we are unsure if the species present will be restricted to S. verleyi.
The ceiling of the passage will be used by light tolerant Artibeus bats. Passage morphology allows roosting space for bats at Wallingford, and this should be similar at Mexico. Much of Mexico Cave is twilight-zone, so we suspect species will be limited to Artibeus.
Fungal growths, consisting of prominent areas of mycelia on the passage wall, will be found due to a combination of constant 100% humidity (from the river), and the nutrient input from bats roosting on the passage ceiling that manage to drop some faeces on the passage walls.
The fungi will support fungal gnats, and the gnats will support predators that include amblypygids, and several species of spiders, as seen at Wallingford. Crickets, U. cavicola, will be present, as at Wallingford.
There will be moderate numbers of invasive Roaches, P. americana. Despite this, trog numbers of other species will be good.
Siltation is not a concern in this system, because the passage is so large (20m wide and over 10 high), and the flow so great. Unlike Wilson's Run, and Farmyard, that have been highly degraded from run-off silt, in Wallingford-Mexico it merely supplies a great amount of nutrients. The cave would not be expected to contain the more rare troglobites, such as Nelipophygus spp, that prefer relatively poor nutrient input, but for the Ja troglophiles that like a lot of food, this will be a great cave.
The geology of the cave is such: Rotten Gut River flows across alluvium, then through a passage in White Limestone, to issue again at Mexico Cave on to alluvium.
We are listing this site with a low vulnerability due to the restricted access (swimming).
|Jamaican Cave Notes - Main Page||May 2005 Caving Notes - Main Page|