8th June

Vince, Brockers, Jake, Jon, and Nick. Doing our bit for Global Wellness Day 2024!

Wandered up to the cave before the team arrived and trimmed back the vegetation that was beginning to overgrow the path and spoil heap. When the team arrived, bags were gathered together and packed (x20) ready for refilling later.

 Jon headed off to the NE extent and I went to open a Can of Worms. Jake, Brockers, and Nick provided the support to both digs, clearing filled bags and rocks to the surface and emptying the bags. From the surface the word came back reporting the first clegs of the summer!!!

 In between loosening the sediment and filling bags I took a few images in ‘CoW’ of sediment deposition as it wasn’t too steamy at the SW extent. It is much drier and more spacious here.

Annotated image of sediment deposition: yellow – roof line(s), conglomerate; black – alternate layering of fine sediments, sand, silt, clay; red – calcite [flowstone] deposits. Image taken 8th June 2024 at current extent, Can of Worms.

The digging at the SW extent in ‘CoW’ comprises of fine sediment (sand, silt, clay) deposited over layers of calcite flowstone – the upper layer of which is sometimes degraded and stained ‘black’ from mineralisation (?), the lower layer(s) appear mere ‘solid’. Between the layers of calcite are thin deposits (mm) of fine sediment and it is suggested that during the Pleistocene period of permafrost on Mendip these sediment layers froze, causing frost heave and fracturing of the calcite layers. Hammering a bar between the layers it is possible to prise loose large chunks of calcite (the edges along the fracture line are ’dirty’). It is slower progress but still moving forward.

At the end of the session, 105 bags (from both ends) were filled, hauled, and emptied plus about 20 skip loads of rock stock piled for wall building at a later date. To the Hunter’s!

A fragment of speleothem long ago fractured and detached had become transported, deposited horizontally, and calcited over. Its former ‘resting’ place can be seen as an impression in the upper calcite layer. Image taken 8th June 2024