Sulphur Springs Weak Spring Tunnel-2/26/19

Bobby Scharping and Dr. Garey have been working their way through the Weak Spring tunnel, a small side loop of the main tunnel. The original guideline was broken and the passage is very constricted and silty, so we have been laying a new line, slowly working our way to where there is yet another passageway that leads to a couple of very interesting rooms with unique hydrochemistry and microbial communities, and even some stygobitic arthropods. No one has been in this part of the cave in over 20 years. We reached the old T in the line, and so to our right was the room of interest, and to our left the continuation of the tunnel that leads back to the main conduit. Turning right we went up a very steep and silty sediment mound and found a shallow room filled with huge biofilm growths, like giant gray icicles that were inches thick and up to several feet long. Proceeding to the right we reached another area where there was a rock ledge that appeared to be containing a cloudy chemocline layer. We then headed back to the main conduit, picked up some equipment we had deployed in the Fall, and exited the spring. On the next trip we hope to collect some of the stygobitic arthropods for stable isotope analysis and confirm that we have good guidelines through the entire weak spring tunnel.