Tuesday 24 February 2015

An Unusual Day's Caving

by Dave Ingold

Well.............an unusual day's caving! We were asked to explore ~7 caves to the north of the Cradle of Humankind in an area we haven't visited since our inception in 1954. Two caves were filled with bees and another needs rigging for rope descent. Then we found this interesting mine adit that broke into a cave. Sadly, all the pretties (stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones) had been drilled, smashed and removed in the early 1900's as is common with many of the exposed caves in the area - the calcite was a source of cement, fertiliser etc..............how great to destroy millennia of nature's creations for short-term goals? It was only a small cave but adds to our knowledge of the area and its speleology.
Anyway, using our new bleeding-edge survey gear we surveyed and mapped the cave to millimetre precision and will return another day to tackle the remaining caves. Apologies for the pics: It was an overcast day with a washed-out sky and, underground in SA's caves, dust is a huge problem, reflecting flash as round artifacts that look like balloons in the image. Thanks as always to my fellow cavers - this time Pete Kenyon, Gerrie Pretorius, Sharron Reynolds and Leon De Kock - I look forward to our next encounter with the underworld!

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