Posts Tagged ‘geology of Ontario’

This is an extract from my book (a screen shot of part of a page), that is finished as of now – with about a half hour before the new year. It should be available for purchase from Lulu or the Edgehill Press site within about 2 or 3 days (depending upon the size of their backlog). You would not believe the complications at the final stage of preparation. I have spent my every spare minute since the last post uploading, downloading, readjusting, making PDFs, more uploading, using photoshop, learning how to do things I never wanted to do; any way it’s done and the book looks amazing.

This section of page from my new book, “Caving in Ontario; Exploring Buried Karst”, speaks a little about how cavers see spelunkers. To be called a spelunker by a caver is a derogatory remark.

So the point is, and I need to make it quick, as there is no more than about a half hour before midnight(new Years Eve) and I have a big glass of scotch and my hot tub waiting – if you are a caver, or underground explorer of any type, somewhere near Ontario, this book is a must have (excuse the massive sentence). Caving in Ontario tells you about the caves, how to find the caves, the geography of Ontario, the geology of Ontario and the culture of the sport of caving (in Ontario). Caving in Ontario is in full color, and it contains information and pictures of places that have never been publicly seen or written of before.

You think you know Ontario?  I bet most have not seen it from this angle – a caver’s angle (looking from below).

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Beaver Valley, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

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

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This is kind of a neat little karst area where we found a number of small caves in close proximity to each other. The picture above shows the resurgence beneath this dead tree of the sink several hundred feet away and also a couple of closer sinks.

From what I can tell there is about a kilometer square catchment and everything funnels into the lowest point at the center of a farmers field. A valley that is choked with garbage, hawthorn, and vines hides several cave entrances. Only Bed of Glass cave seems to have much promise as there is a water filled passage at the end with some airspace that I’d intended to push. A raccoon at the end of the tunnel won the turf war and so I left the pushing of that tunnel till another day. Entering into Bed of glass you must burrow through a heap debris at its entrance. Looks like when it rains the sink and surrounding valleys fill up with water (about 15 feet deep) Everything in the fields ends up in the sink.

The first video shows JC’s discovery of a little cave and the second video catches real time the unfortunate debacle within. Let this stand as a lesson to all would-be cavers who are not so observant of their surroundings

Video – small Ontario cave

Video – what happened within the small Ontario cave

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IMGP0810, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This is JC as he and I wiggled our way on deeper into this unexplored Ontario cave system.

We have a mapping planned. Some time soon we should be able to provide more definite dimensions.

We finished the day’s exploration with (For me) a difficult crawl from our excavation hole. With a narrow tube such as the one down which we dropped down into the main tunnel, it does not make for an easy exit. Down below there is nothing to put your feet on, and higher up, the surface is just at that spot where you are unable to lift yourself. I struggled for some time with JC offering to help pull. Anyway I am now suffering from a multitude of delayed injuries including weird rashes, tiredness and bruises that I don’t remember getting. I was sitting at my desk yesterday and discovered a chafing on my belly – not entirely explained by the friction of rubbing against the keyboard. I had 11 hours sleep last night and I seem to be on the mend. Caving gives me both a mental and physical thrashing. This exploration of virgin tunnel keeps me on this mental overdrive that I suspect is costly for several days after.

Is that weird?

Check out JC’s pictures of Wasteland Waterway here – in particular the flowstone that looks very much like melted cheese.

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Ontario Cave - Down the rabbit Hole

Ontario Cave - Down the rabbit Hole - Wasteland Water Way

Though we were disappointed by the flooded entrance to Wasteland Waterway we decided to check a nearby sink and in hearing noise JC and I burrowed away and opened a karst window in the bottom of what looked like a meteor crater – the roar from within was encouraging.

The picture above shows what my camera picked up, a vadose passage that had airspace and was sucking more from the hole through which we peered. as we left we packed the sticky soil over a framework of sticks to keep our tunnel safe till we return next week. Hopefully the water will have dropped by then and we can push the cave.

From the guy who bought you the book Rockwatching, stay posted for the release of my new book about 2-3 months from now on caving in Ontario it will feature some 38 good Ontario solution caves (some possibly unknown even to experienced local cavers), along with details of their exploration and formation, lots of pics (no locations). Check out my last book –  Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica here.

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This picture was taken on a recent exploration that JC and I did in an area that has long been suspected of being “cave rich”.

In Ongley’s long forgotten cave manuscript he relates the impression at the time of Ontario being a cave desert – a paucity of karst! not so! Theres lots of caves in Ontario you just gotta find them. Marcus Buck said that 90 -95% of Ontario’s caves are found beside a road or path – still true, its because of our rugged terrain and people’s unwillingness to hack through the bush. JC and I do that quite often and sometimes we hit lucky.

My book on Ontario’s cave geography “Rockwatching” is again available at Amazon. It appears that it had risen quite significantly in price while it was out of print – Teebooks1 – $156.13, The_Meirin_USA – $94.00, and any_book for – $56.46.

Rockwatching is back on at Amazon for $20.96 – buy it and stop e-mailing me for directions to caves, you’ll learn in the book how to figure those out for yourselves.

But for now, I hope to update you in the next month or so on our further explorations of Broken Rowboat cave – it all depends on whether the location is totally snowed in for the winter or not. It’s a hike of several kilometers through some pretty rugged terrain.

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JC in a crevice – cave – Niagara Escarpment

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.

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Pool in Dead Mouse Cave

IMG_7892, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

I suppose it would not be unreasonable to assume that I have managed to fit in a significant amount of study since the last post went up, but unfortunatly I was again distracted and ended up visiting my good Friend Jeff (SNAFU).

Jeff M. is a techie, I am not. I’ve been trying to figure out how to record a fire alarm sound and then play it at work for the betterment of those who do not understand our two-tone system. It had seemed like an impossible task. Fortunately, my frustration was soon aleviated by Jeff who said that I had the wrong connections at the back of my boom box. You see the peole at Futureshop had sold me the wrong connection, or maybe I had bought the wrong connection – either way, I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated. Problem solved, SNFU knew the solution right away and now everything is good.

Now an explanation of the cave picture.

This is what lies at the furthest extent of where I was willing to crawl in “Dead Mouse”. It is a strange little dam that holds back a crystal-clear pool of water behind(not the muddy one you can see in front) and Jeff C. who I was with at the time said that he might have been able to push the passage further as it is wide and curves sharply off to the left beyond this picture. For me, this is as far as I will be going in dead mouse. There are better options in the area of which I was then aware and I will explain that morning’s big success in my next set of posts – I just wanted to finish off on the “Dead Mouse story before diverging off onto more exciting news.

Oh, one kind of interesting thing. You might have noticed that rock in the middle of the dam, its kind of like a cork in a dyke. It had forced its way into the hole from behind.

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A disapponting conclusion – I’m to fat to go much further


IMG_7898, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Just a quick post as promised – a conclusion to the newly discovered cave – “Dead Mouse”. In one sense, you did not miss out to much here Greg. The cave soon changed to something less explorable, but it was the exploration earlier in the day at another spot found by Jeff that really made the journey worthwhile.

I am again supposed to be studying for a health and safety exam. This is the last of the delay tactics that I can employ – a quick update that I will build upon in a following few posts later this evening.

As we have discovered over the weeks since our last visit, the Onondaga Escarpment (south of Hamilton) is a rich caving ground if you know what to look for. The escarpment winds all wriggly and convoluted across the top of Lake Erie – interspersed with layers of chert and some fabulous fossils.

More to come soon.

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Check out the scalloping

An Ontario cave near Lake Erie

Notice the scalloping – wear features shaped like spoon scoops, they are indicative of the water speed and direction of flow. The roof above is grey and hard and worn smooth – no sign of the ceiling joint that governs passage direction in many Ontario caves (e.g. Ongleys Hole/ Dewdney’s Cave), so as for water just trickling in from the fields above, that does not seem to be an option at this time. The water certainly rises high in the tunnels, but today it is drizzling outside and no sign of raised water levels.

Up ahead there appears to be either deeper water or less rubble in a “T” junction. I wonder if the left leading junction meets up with the surface depression that we saw? Does it function as an overflow conduit like in Little Stream?

We are left considering the possibility of some kind of dendritic feeding system, or a single point at which the water sinks. The passage seems to be widening up ahead and so we resolve to return to “Dead Mouse” in about two weeks with the appropriate equipment and push on deeper in.

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