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Swansea Cave

February 13, 2010

Video: Swansea Cave (80MB WMV)

District: Worthy Park

Parish: St Catherine

WGS84 L/L: 18 10 30.6, 77 09 32.7 (third collapse)

JAD2001: 733169 E, 669395 N

JAD69: 233058 E, 169106 N

Altitude: 385m WGS84

Accuracy: +/- 5m horizontal; +/- 10m vertical


Type: Dry passage

Accessibility: Walk-in

Depth: N/A

Length: 1,170m

Explorers: GSD - 1960, Leeds - 1963

Survey: GSD; Leeds - 1963

JU Ref: pg 351

JU Map: pg 352

Entrance size: 12m W, 10m H

Entrance aspect: 110

Vegetation in general locale: Forest/sugar cane

Vegetation at entrance: Scrub

Geology: White limestone

Bedding: Strong

Jointing: Poor

Speleothems: Stals

Palaeo resources: None seen

Archaeo resources: None seen

Hydrology: Dry

Dark zone: >95%.

Climate: 23 deg C, dry.

Bats: <10,000

Bat guano: Some

Guano mining: Occasional

Guano condition: Compact, fresh/fluff

Visitation: Occasional

Speleothem damage: None

Graffiti: Some

Trash: Little

Ownership: Private (Worthy Park)

Protection: None

Vulnerability: High

Swansea Cave
February 13, 2010
Team: RS Stewart, J Pauel, A Haiduk, Donavan, Kingman
Notes: RS Stewart

Swansea Cave was first visited by the JCO on Feb 10, 2010, with the assistance of Eric Garrick as recon for a NEPA bat capture and release project. The cave was not entered at the time. A return visit for exploration and assessment took place on Feb 13.

The cave has four entrances: main, first collapse, second collapse, and third collapse. The position given above is for the third collapse, which is difficult to reach overland. We are reserving the position for the main entrance due to the sensitive nature of the site.

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Speleoperipatus speleus at Swansea. Photo: J Pauel.
Click for full resolution.
The cave contains a large mixed species roost with numbers estimated to total over ten thousand that lies between the second and third collapses. Low numbers of Artibeus jamaicensis can be found near the main entrance.

Physically, the cave consists of one long fossil stream passage carved into strongly bedded white limestone, except for short sections, up to the third collapse. The poorly-bedded sections are made up of a softer white limestone, and include the collapses. In places, the passage is filled almost to the roof with old silt, possibly deposited during the "hyper flood" events postulated by McFarlane and Lundberg to have occured during the late Sangamonian age. At any rate, it does not appear to be recent and associated with deforestation during colonial times, although this is speculative and in need of research. In the main roosting areas the passage is about 4-5 metres high. The width is mostly over 10m throughout except for the extension beyond the third collapse, which is narrower, generally quite low, and made up of softer, more soluble limestone with many formations.

The invertebrate component includes relatively low numbers of the invasive roach P. americana, cave crickets, amblypygids, G. cavernicola, and most notably, the Onychophoran, Speleoperipatus speleus, described by Dr Stewart Peck from four specimens found in Pedro Great Cave in 1972, which is 5km to the west. The author of this report must mention that he has been searching for more of this very rare critter for the last decade, and is very pleased to have finally found one (confirmed by Dr Peck). It was, of course, not collected. A return will be made to Swansea, Pedro, and other sites in northwest Worthy Park in an attempt to determine current numbers.

Swansea Cave on DEM

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