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June 9, 2004

MISS HENNEY CAVE


Position: WGS84 - 18 22' 13.5" N, 77 51' 15.8" W, +/- 5 m

Field notes: R. S. STEWART

Cavers: R. S. Stewart, M. Taylor, D. K. Roggy

Time in: 13:00 EST, Time out: 14:00 EST

THREAT VULNERABILITY: Low

This was the second of two caves found during the day in the Welcome Hall district. The first was Bonnet Bush Cave. Neither of the two matches the rather short JU entry, "Between Welcome Hall and Providence. A bedding-plane passage takes water in rains.", given for one of our project targets, "Welcome Hall Cave". Both are apparently unlisted caves, with the second the closer, at 200 m SW of the JU Welcome Hall Cave position. Since the JU position could easily be out by 200 m, this tells us nothing; we must rely on the description as given in JU, which suggests that they are new.

Because this second cave is located on land once owned by "Miss Henney", now deceased, we are naming it after her. It should be noted that it was almost called "Chelsea Cave", after a woman who gave us some very delicious mangoes just before we headed to the entrance, but upon subsequent consultation with a gentleman who is cultivating the land next to it, Mr Johnson, it was decided that Miss Henney would be more appropriate.

Miss Henney Cave is located on the side of a small hill with a medium-sized entrance, about 6 m wide and 4 high, that faces 350 deg true. A scramble over breakdown boulders leads into a medium-sized breakdown passage about 10 m wide and 5 high. The cave consists of this one passage, trending south for about 15 m, then east for about 15.

The rock appeared to be a somewhat hard limestone but poorly-bedded. It did not seem like the true cretacious rock we've been seeing in surrounding districts.

The cave was dry other than some flow over flowstone, and did not appear to be actively taking water or resurging at any time of the year. There were few stals but whether this is because the limestone is hard, or because of lack of drip from above, I don't know.

Biologically, this cave is supplying roosting space to a small colony of bats in the twilight zone, primarily fruit-bats judging by the sprouting seeds on the floor. Small deposits of guano are building in places and there was evidence of local and intermittent extraction. Few inverts were seen other than many millipedes. Eleutherodactylus cundalli, frogs, were resident in the outer part of the twilight zone.

I obtained a decent GPS position before we left, by standing on the hill immediately above the entrance.

We are listing this cave because it is an active bat-roost, but assigning it a low vulnerability due the limited number of species, the absence of fragile speleothems, the lack of observed speleo reources, and the lack of evidence of Amerindian use.

It should be noted that Mr Johnson reported two other caves in the vicinity, one of which was described as perhaps being a bedding-plane passage. A repeat visit will be made to see what can be found.

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