Cave Spring & Cave

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 2-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 further on.
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
12-17-78

 

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