Some time ago I did some winter hiking near Toronto (Niagara Escarpment) and explored behind a waterfall to see how it would look with all the icicles. Needless to say it was amazing – exceeded my most hopeful expectations. Most impressive was this low rumbling sound that filled the whole cavity, it was a new dimension to my unusual Ontario based travels – sound.
In line with the publication of my first book in 2005 (Rockwatching), in the video that I have linked to just above, I show a little bit of the local rock and the contact between the Queenston Shale and the Whirlpool Sandstone.
This is a shaft at the back of a well known sea cave on the Bruce Peninsula. It might appear that I am desperately fighting a giant serpent that is in the process of swallowing me. Well gravity is on it’s side and I slid quite easily down its throat.
This particular weekend was a very successful one for caving in that area. JC and I located a swarm of deep rock shafts and we are returning quite shortly to conduct further investigation. We had been pointed in this direction by the exploits of cavers from decades past. The majority of our cave discoveries had been from building upon the investigations of others.
It is here at the very tip of the Niagara Escarpment that Ontario caving is at its very best. And the discoveries of what lies beneath is just beginning. There are countless kilometers of bush and limestone alvars that remain to be explored.
I was out scouting for a possible cave dig location today. Caving in Ontario can sometimes involve a little digging. Beaver Valley has a few promising possibilities. Investigations from a past trip revealed the likelihood of a bedding plane tunnel, there was no remarkable amount of solution taking place. Again I was drawn back here. There is too much sinking and all the signs that would suggest that something very active is taking place beneath the surface – huge sinkholes all lined up, elevation, exposed rock (the right kind of rock) and plenty of serious corrosion on the surface.
There has to be more to this place than beautiful colored leaves.
Check this out – it was under the search term of a “sink”, but it’s really a washout, but still worth seeing. I gotta ask myself what the odds of catching this on video was. Here
The big passage in Broken Rowboat Cave ends in a jumble of rock leading downward at one end and a sediment blockage at the other end. The big passage is met about midway along by a crawl tube from the outside and another tube leads off from it that is blowing cold air.
Its kind of funny in a way as there is a worn depression in the dirt that leads from the outside, down the entry tube, into the big passage, and then down the passage that is blowing air – the depression is likely trodden by some little cave dwelling animal (porcupine, raccoon). I saw no scat or other clues around – maybe its gnomes!!!
Anyway, as the cave is not so far below the surface and yet quite heavily marked by large scallops, I wonder if the sediment blocked end had once taken running water from the surface. There are many large soil filled grykes in the around there.
In the above picture JC is investigating crevices in the area. We are wondering if there are other entrances. The cave must go downward as because of the topography the tunnels can’t be too extensive at the level that we were exploring.
Downward would seem a likely possibility for several reasons – one is that at one end of the big passage there already is a rubbly pit in that direction, secondly, because water flows downward, thirdly, because the joints in this area are especially wide – so why not deep as well? And also because it would seem a logical route for the water to flow as there seems to be obstructions on the surface that might make it the most logical route to follow.
I suppose the tube that is blowing cold air will reveal to us whether our exploration will continue, or whether it will stop right there with the usual crushed expectations. I suppose we can’t complain, if every hill had a cave beneath it – well looking for caves wouldn’t be quite so rewarding.
Rovers Cave – Bruce Peninsula – Niagara Escarpment
Admittedly, when you are in the entry cavern looking up towards the Rovers Cave main entrance it is a little reminiscent of a crater pocked moonscape. These are however quite earthly, they are dissolutional pockets that have worn into the rock.
From where I took the picture there is a lower entrance down a crevice to my left and an upper entrance to the right with a scramble up to the top of the cliff. Large cliff face entrances and tunnels within which narrow down as they progress are typical features of a wave cut cave, but as Marcus Buck points out, those features are at odds with the pheratic nature of dissolutional pockets.
Pheratic suggests development beneath the water table. The dissolution pockets differ from scallops in that they are variable in size and in no way indicative of water direction. A scallop is steeper on its upcurrent side. These dissolutional pockets probably would imply a tunnel that was acted upon beneath the water table by slow moving water.
So now I’m confused, but also somewhat exhilarated as this question of wave or pheratic development adds to other thoughts that have arisen in the process of another recent exploration that JC and I have undertaken.
Earlier this year JC and I visited an obscure Ontario Cave. Though it is in Ontario – many hundreds of kilometers from the Ocean this is what is known as a sea cave.
Rover’s Cave is not so easily accessible, it is situated in a cliff face along the edge of Georgian Bay, screened by trees and only found after some pretty heavy hacking through the bush.
As in any search for caves, its seldom easy – if it were everyone would know about the cave. One point though, it would have been nice to have the right co-ordinates. JC kept counting down as we approached – 140M, 80M, 40M, We are there, but we weren’t. It took about an hour more and it was only by speculation and comparison of numerous likely points that we eventually found it.
Rover’s cave has over 100M of passage and in that respect it is quite outstanding for a local sea cave. From below the entrance looks like a slot on a ledge, but from within looking out there is this beautiful elliptical entrance within which you can sit and gaze out at the scenery.
Following the release some time ago of my book "Rockwatching; Adventures above and below Ontario", I am pleased to announce the release of my new book "Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica". It is a story of opportunity. Edgehill Press is the publisher. (www.edgehillpress.com)