Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surface

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Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surface

Postby colt45 » Sep 4, 2014 5:35 pm

While drilling for water, I discovered a dry cavern 95' below surface on my ranch in West Texas. In one area, the ceiling of the cavern was 95' deep and the floor was 124' deep (29' tall chamber). Several dry holes were drilled in the immediate area and the cavern was found - in place 15' plus and in another only 2'. I have ran a camera down into it and found that 2 slimy frogs are alive and well down there. I have a way to get down into the cavern but it will cost quite a bit of money. Is there any way to get an idea how big it is before I make this investment?
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby Caving Guru » Sep 4, 2014 7:07 pm

That is awesome that you found a cave with a 29 foot tall chamber by drilling! That is pretty cool too that you found 2 frogs with the camera that you ran down. And to answer your question, I believe that the only way to find out how much total passage the cave has is to explore the cave but I believe that it is possible to use certain high tech techniques to find caves and see how large their passages are such as a Tamarisk 320 Infrared Imaging Camera that was supposedly used to discover a cave in West Virginia and several other techniques.

Another technique that is possible, I believe, to measure the dimensions of your cave is by using radar/radio waves which was used to measure the dimensions of the world's largest canyon in Greenland which was announced to the public last year. Through many years of work, these scientists had measured the dimensions of this immense canyon at 460 miles long, 6 miles wide, and the whole canyon being over 1 mile under the ice.

Another type of infrared camera (that I just found browsing the internet) that is used for things such as cave detection is the FLIR E4 IR Camera which costs about $1,000 new.

Another idea, that I just thought of, is that you could look for sink holes in the area and start digging which might require less digging than digging down to the 29 foot tall chamber making it large enough for a person to fit through.

It would probably be expensive to buy any of the infrared or radar devices to measure your cave. Your drilling technique seems like a good idea to measure the height of passages in this cave, though, that never even crossed my mind as a technique that could be used to measure the height of a cave passage.
Last edited by Caving Guru on Sep 4, 2014 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby johnf93 » Sep 4, 2014 7:42 pm

Congrats on finding the cave! Maybe one of the more experienced can answer this question. How far into caves are frogs normally found? I'm guessing that there is an entrance to the cave somewhat near by if there are frogs in it? I could be completely wrong though! http://members.socket.net/~joschaper/wamphib.html
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby Caving Guru » Sep 4, 2014 8:04 pm

You make a good point, John, that there must be an entrance nearby (although it may be a frog sized entrance) for those frogs to have entered into the cave. To my knowledge there are no frogs in the world that are troglobites (animals that live entirely in the dark parts of caves and have adapted to caves such as adapting their vision to the darkness). I believe that most frogs that are found in caves are near an entrance and are just visitors or have accidentally fallen into a cave that has an entrance drop for example.
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby johnf93 » Sep 4, 2014 8:10 pm

Colt45,
You may find this information about Karst formations in Texas interesting. http://www.texasspeleologicalsurvey.org ... egions.php
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby GroundquestMSA » Sep 4, 2014 9:45 pm

Caving Guru wrote:I believe that it is possible to use certain high tech techniques to find caves and see how large their passages are such as a Tamarisk 320 Infrared Imaging Camera that was supposedly used to discover a cave in West Virginia


Infrared cameras haven't been used to see how large passages are, only to find warm spots. The dig site for Tamarisk was found by Greg Springer and Neha Gupta using an IR camera on a winter night. I believe Neha's video about the project is out there on the internet somewhere. To find out how big the cave was, it had to be dug open, and explored, and my brother and I got to help Ed Saugstad do so.

Colt, if there are any cavers in your area who are familiar with local geology, they may be able to have a look at the surrounding area, and whatever pictures you can get, and give some clues as to what you may have. I would certainly have fun tinkering with the camera. How have you been photographing the cave?
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby Caving Guru » Sep 4, 2014 10:20 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:
Caving Guru wrote:I believe that it is possible to use certain high tech techniques to find caves and see how large their passages are such as a Tamarisk 320 Infrared Imaging Camera that was supposedly used to discover a cave in West Virginia


Infrared cameras haven't been used to see how large passages are, only to find warm spots. The dig site for Tamarisk was found by Greg Springer and Neha Gupta using an IR camera on a winter night. I believe Neha's video about the project is out there on the internet somewhere. To find out how big the cave was, it had to be dug open, and explored, and my brother and I got to help Ed Saugstad do so.


Jonah, I am actually aware that the Tamarisk 320 Infrared Imaging Camera is not used to find how large passages are. I was not suggesting that. I never said that they are. I was thinking more along the lines of radar devices that might be able to measure cave dimensions.
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby Leclused » Sep 5, 2014 4:13 am

Caving Guru wrote:That is awesome that you found a cave with a 29 foot tall chamber by drilling! That is pretty cool too that you found 2 frogs with the camera that you ran down. And to answer your question, I believe that the only way to find out how much total passage the cave has is to explore the cave but I believe that it is possible to use certain high tech techniques to find caves and see how large their passages are such as a Tamarisk 320 Infrared Imaging Camera that was supposedly used to discover a cave in West Virginia and several other techniques.

Another technique that is possible, I believe, to measure the dimensions of your cave is by using radar/radio waves which was used to measure the dimensions of the world's largest canyon in Greenland which was announced to the public last year. Through many years of work, these scientists had measured the dimensions of this immense canyon at 460 miles long, 6 miles wide, and the whole canyon being over 1 mile under the ice.

Another type of infrared camera (that I just found browsing the internet) that is used for things such as cave detection is the FLIR E4 IR Camera which costs about $1,000 new.

Another idea, that I just thought of, is that you could look for sink holes in the area and start digging which might require less digging than digging down to the 29 foot tall chamber making it large enough for a person to fit through.

It would probably be expensive to buy any of the infrared or radar devices to measure your cave. Your drilling technique seems like a good idea to measure the height of passages in this cave, though, that never even crossed my mind as a technique that could be used to measure the height of a cave passage.


Caves can be detected using resistivity measuring of the ground. But this is work for specialists, perhaps a geologist can help.

An related article if found using teh following keywords : resistivity measurement caves

http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.n ... 1-2004.pdf

UPDATE:
Use the following keywords :big grin:
ERT - Electrical Resistivity Tomography

http://www.geotech1.com/cgi-bin/pages/c ... /index.dat

Concerning the frogs, if there is an underground stream animals (frogs/fish) can travel pretty far into a cave. there exists a clip somewhere of a cave with a lot of fish in pools that are washed in from above.

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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby boreholio » Sep 5, 2014 8:34 am

If there is noticeable air flow out of or into the drill hole, it could indicate more cave to be found. Also, consider the topography and geology, does there appear to be room for more cave? Are there any significant springs or other caves/ karst features nearby that could be related. Might want to thoroughly ridgewalk the area before spending money.
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby colt45 » Sep 5, 2014 9:16 am

Thanks for all the information! My ranch is in Coke County. The driller I used said he's never seen anything like this before. He's been drilling in the greater San Angelo area for a long time. The water well on my property that was drilled in 1943 sanded in around the windmill pipe. I was trying to fish out the old pipe and salvage the well. I built a home made steel camera housing and ran an old $200 Nikon digital camera down hole in video mode with a flashlight behind it. Where this well was, it was obvious there was a ledge from 95' ish down to where the pipe is sanded in. I didn't think anything about it until we drilled some holes around there and found the cavern.

Cavern has a hard limestone cap on it. And has a red clay floor. The website from JohnF93 said that this would be the case in the Edwards.

Image
Last edited by colt45 on Sep 5, 2014 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby colt45 » Sep 5, 2014 9:20 am

2 Frogs captured in screen shot of video....
Image

Little frog crawled off. Big frog bounding off...

Image
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby colt45 » Sep 5, 2014 9:30 am

This weekend, I'm going to try to run the camera looking out instead of down. I was thinking I could put a laser on it as well as a flash light. As I rotate the camera, the laser should give me a better idea of how far out it goes. If it's windy, I'll see if I can feel air flow up the old well.

I had a trash can lid covering on my old 1943 well with a cinder block on top. We were air drilling about 15 feet from the old well. Once we penetrated the cavern's ceiling, we lost air flow and the cuttings quit coming out of the hole we were drilling. The air pressure blew the trash can lid cover off of my old well so I am thinking that there isn't an entrance nearby.
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby Squirrel Girl » Sep 5, 2014 9:54 am

Colt--if you find an entrance or drill it out, and the passage is full of water, I would be very interested in coming out and diving it.
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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby johnf93 » Sep 5, 2014 10:13 am

Colt45,
Great name by the way. You could contact the folks at Texas Speleo Survey and mention that you found a cave on your property, with its GPS Coordinates, and they might be able to tell you if it part of a known cave. If its not, what do you plan on naming it?

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Re: Cavern Discovered On My west Texas Ranch 95' Below Surfa

Postby Caving Guru » Sep 5, 2014 11:47 am

johnf93 wrote:Colt45,
Great name by the way. You could contact the folks at Texas Speleo Survey and mention that you found a cave on your property, with its GPS Coordinates, and they might be able to tell you if it part of a known cave. If its not, what do you plan on naming it?

John


According to the Texas Speleological Survey's website, for Coke County there are 8 known caves, 2 known shelters, and 14 known springs.
http://www.texasspeleologicalsurvey.org ... totals.php
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