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Wondrous Cave

April 6, 2005 - 13:00-14:30 EST


District: Elderslie

Parish: St Elizabeth

WGS84 L/L: 18 14 23.9; 77 47 28.8 (Main Ent)


JAD69: 166197 E, 176450 N

JAD2001: 666307 E, 676739 N

Altitude: 470m WGS84

Accuracy: +/- 15m horizontal; +/- 15m vertical

Type: Complex

Accessibility: Walk-in

Depth: 15m

Length: 430m

Explorers: JCC - 1976

Survey: JCC - 1976

JU Ref: Text - pg 382; Map - pg 383


Entrance size: 2m W x 2m H

Entrance aspect: 70 deg true (Main ent)

Vegetation in general locale: Farm

Vegetation at entrance: Farm

Rock type: Yellow - White Limestone junction

Bedding:  Moderate

Jointing: Moderate

Speleothems: Stals, flowstone, helictites

Palaeo resources: None

Archaeo resources: None

Hydrology: Dry

Siltation: N/A

Sink: N/A

Rising: N/A

Stream passage with surface activity: N/A

Stream passage without surface activity: N/A

Dark zone: 90%.

Climate: Warm, semi-humid.

Bats: >500

Bat guano: Some

Guano mining: Current

Guano condition: Wet/compact

Eleutherodactylus cundalli: None

Neoditomyia farri: None

Amblypygids: Some

Periplaneta americana: Some

Cave crickets: Many

Sesarma: None

Other species: G. cavernicola, other spider - species undetermined.

Visitation: Frequent

Speleothem damage: Much

Graffiti: Much

Garbage: Some

Ownership: Private

Protection: None


Vulnerability: Medium. The bat-roost here is substantial.


Wondrous Cave

April 6, 2005

Team: Stewart, Conolley, Roggy, Slack

Notes: RS Stewart

Main Entrance: WGS84 - 18 14 23.9, 77 47 28.8; Alt: 470; Accuracy: +/- 10m; Aspect: 70 deg true

North Entrance: WGS84 - 18 14 25.3, 77 47 30.2; Alt: 470; Accuracy: +/- 10m; Aspect: 45 deg true

Wondrous has been used in the past as a tourist show-cave, although this activity seems to be limited at the current time. It is essentially the upper part of Adam's Cave, with active stream development now shifted lower in the hill. The morphology varies, with the northern section consisting of small, fossil, joint-developed stream passages, and the southern section having medium-sized breakdown chambers, developed from larger jointed stream passages.

Signs with names for particular formations are found, and this gives a good indication of the parts that were used for tourism. This seems to have been restricted to the northern section, where the floor of the passages is level and covered with dry sediment. The larger southern section is reached through an old partial stal barrier. This leads immediately to a central breakdown-boulder mound in a room about 20m wide and 13 high. This chamber has a fair-sized bat-roost, with numbers well over 500, but probably not over 5000. It is dark-zone, and contains multiple bat species. The breakdown boulders are covered with thick, wet guano, moistened by percolation from the hill above. It can be seen why tourists were kept out of this part, as moving through here is a little tricky.

Low on the east of the bat-roost the chamber connects through a bouldery joint to a lower passage, almost as large. This connection could be scrambled/jumped down, but getting back up would be very difficult. The use of a rope or etrier is recommended.

Invasive roaches are found in the bat-roost, but not in great numbers. Other species include: large numbers of crickets, U. cavicola, and Amblypygids, Phrynus spp, two species of Araneae, G. cavernicola, and a second still undetermined.

We were told that some guano extraction happens here, but it looked to us as though it is not extensive. Guano deposits were relatively undisturbed, and there were no fresh bottle-torches/fertilizer bags/scoops. Also, the numbers of roaches were low for a cave that has much mining.

The Northern Entrance (through a crawl in a low passage, was georeferenced, as well as the Main Entrance.

We had some problems with a man who claimed to control the land, who showed up after we had already gotten permission from someone else. This second person, who was quite threatening, turned out to not have any right to demand money from us, as we learned when the real owner, an older woman, eventually showed up. I politely explained to her what we were doing, and she graciously allowed us to continue, without requiring payment. It was very hectic for a little while though. We suggest that any researchers who plan to visit the cave ask around for the woman who owns it, and then consult with her before hiking to the entrance.

Access is straightforward with only a short hike required. The positions given above are good, so you can use them to plot it on the topo map to indicate which roads to take.

There is a great amount of graffiti in parts of the cave. Garbage has been carried in, but is not so plentiful that it couldn't all be cleaned up in a few hours.

We are listing this cave with a medium vulnerability. The bat-roost is substantial, with mixed species. We are not giving it a high vulnerability, due the roaches - meaning, they've been introduced already, so it's too late to stop that from happening. A bit of education on the importance of leaving the roost alone supplied to the owners couldn't hurt. Unfortunately, I did not write her name down, but you'll find her with a little asking.


Wondrous Cave

April 6, 2005

Notes: DK Roggy

A dry cave that simply felt dead.  We entered with the permission of a guy who claimed to control the property.  
Since this cave used to be used for tourism, it has a concrete stepway leading up to one of the entrances.  It has lots of interesting signs by the formations.  I don't remember any of the exact names, but they were things like "Satan's Hand, Adam's Apple, Towers of Zeus, Percival's Pants" and so forth. 

Somewhere in the back of the cave we found an entrance to a large breakdown chamber that contained a fair amount of bat guano.  We looked for an alternate entrance to it, but were hastened out of the place when news passed in to us that the real landowner was outside and wanted us to leave the cave.  Stefan had a brief talk with the person and things seemed to be worked out, but we didn't go back in.  Some of the original characters who had been around when we arrived quarrelled with the landowner and seemed likely to make trouble for us.

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