The description below is an electronic
reprint excerpt from: "Caves of the Current River Valley", Journal of
the Missouri Speleological Survey, Volume 22, Numbers 3-4, Pages 82, 84.
CAVE SPRING ONYX CAVERNS (CTR 002)
The entrance of Cave Spring Onyx Caverns appears to have been dug out
to make it a walk-in entry. It is about 6 feet high and 4 feet wide.
The stream (walkable) portion of the cave keeps the same dimensions
throughout the cave, but there are numerous shelf areas, some of which
extend for some length. A boardwalk aids in keeping one's feet dry (if
you are careful). Immediately inside the cave the shelf area begins
to spread out on both sides at about 4 feet above the floor. At about
25 feet inside the cave, at the first turn, the right hand shelf area
extends back away from the stream at least 10 feet and is very congested
with formations. Then the wall of the shelf area sharply swings back
to the stream, and is no longer present. The shelf area on the left
side also has swung away to be about 10 feet away from the stream, and
is also highly decorated. The stream disappears beneath this shelf on
its way out to the spring outside. At 45 feet inside the cave, the left
shelf area has extended away, down a 2½-foot high, 5-foot wide, and
30-foot long, highly decorated passage, to a formation blocked terminus.
The right wall is a mass of flowstone.
Continuing on into the cave, the shelf areas disappear and the passage
is again 6 to 7 feet high. The stream channel is 4 feet wide (Bretz
1956). Throughout the cave, the ceiling is a jungle of continually dripping
formations. At about 55 feet into the cave there is a significant drapery
formation and 25 feet further there is a small waterfall issuing from
the left wall. At 100 feet into the cave there is a ceiling channel
crossing perpendicular to the stream passage, and in 8 feet yet another.
These tubes are about 2 feet high and 4 feet wide. Both appear to completely
choke off with formations to the right after about 10 feet, but to the
left they both join to form an upper meander loop. They are both too
congested with formations to enter from here, but they can be entered
Past the ceiling channels, the wall on the left is quite covered with
flowstone. At 140 feet inside the cave, the upper meander loop crosses
again, this time at 2 levels. A 4-foot ledge on the left side leads
into the meander loop and a small tube can be seen to cross over the
stream channel to the right. To the left, after a difficult crawl over,
around, and among formations, are the 2 previously discussed ceiling
channels. The tube that crosses over the stream channel is small and
awkward, and abandoned (I hope!) because electrical wiring makes it
harder yet. After wiping out a couple of light bulbs, an upside down
head first entry was made into the lower part of the meander loop, now
on the right side of the stream passage. To the left, the loop rises
up to choke off with formations just before entry into the stream passage.
To the right, the loop swings around and drops into the stream passage.
Farther up the stream passage, around a right turn, the loop can be-seen
up on the right. At this point, the loop, now crossing to the left,
has totally combined with the stream passage. The loop goes straight
through, 3 feet high and 15 fee: wide, while the stream passage swings
out to the right then around to the Left. Here, at 194 feet into the
cave, the loop crosses left to right to end abruptly in 6 feet at the
right wall. The stream swings on around to the right, with flowstone
coated walls, to the man-made stairway entrance 240 feet in the cave.
The cave continues on for another 20 feet and constricts down to a narrow,
low crawl. Exploration and mapping was terminated at this point. The
stairway shaft extends some 30 feet horizontally and 25 feet vertically,
and exits just up the hill from the first entrance.
Cave Spring Onyx Caverns is quite interesting and much more complex
than Bretz leads one to believe, especially from the map. Bretz was
right in that there was no red clay present anywhere in the cave. The
cave is definitely worth seeing.
Paul D. Hauck
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