Advertisement

Hypogene Caves of the Central Appalachian Shenandoah Valley in Virginia

  • Daniel H. DoctorEmail author
  • Wil Orndorff
Chapter
  • 1.1k Downloads
Part of the Cave and Karst Systems of the World book series (CAKASYWO)

Abstract

Several caves in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia show evidence for early hypogenic conduit development with later-enhanced solution under partly confined phreatic conditions guided by geologic structures. Many (but not all) of these caves have been subsequently invaded by surface waters as a result of erosion and exhumation. Those not so affected are relict phreatic caves, bearing no relation to modern drainage patterns. Field and petrographic evidence shows that carbonate rocks hosting certain relict phreatic caves were dolomitized and/or silicified by early hydrothermal fluid migration in zones that served to locally enhance rock porosity, thus providing preferential pathways for later solution by groundwater flow, and making the surrounding bedrock more resistant to surficial weathering to result in caves that reside within isolated hills on the land surface. Features suggesting that deep phreatic processes dominated the development of these relict caves include (1) cave passage morphologies indicative of ascending fluids, (2) cave plans of irregular pattern, reflecting early maze or anastomosing development, (3) a general lack of cave breakdown and cave streams or cave stream deposits, and (4) calcite wall and pool coatings within isolated caves intersecting the local water table, and within unroofed caves at topographic locations elevated well above the local base level. Episodes of deep karstification were likely separated by long periods of geologic time, encompassing multiple phases of sedimentary fill and excavation within caves, and reflect a complex history of deep fluid migration that set the stage for later shallow speleogenesis that continues today.

Keywords

Shenandoah Valley Maze caves Episodic speleogenesis Silicification Dolomitization  Mississippi Valley Type ores  Virginia 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are most grateful to all of the cavers who mapped the caves discussed in this chapter. Randall Orndorff, David Weary, Christopher Swezey, John Repetski, Robert Denton, Anna Balog-Szabo, and David Nelms provided valuable field assistance and discussion about the geology, hydrology, and features of the study area. We also thank the editors and reviewers for their helpful suggestions that improved the manuscript.

References

  1. Appold MS, Kesler SE, Alt JC (1995) Sulfur isotope and fluid inclusion constraints on the genesis of Mississippi valley-type mineralization in the Central Appalachians. Econ Geol 90(4)Google Scholar
  2. Bowman TE (1964) Antrolana lira, a new genus and species of troglobitic cirolanid isopod from Madison Cave, Virginia. Int J Speleol 1:229–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cady RC (1936) Ground-water resources of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Va Geol Surv Bull 45:137 (2 plates)Google Scholar
  4. Davies GR, Smith LB Jr (2006) Structurally controlled hydrothermal dolomite reservoir facies: an overview. AAPG Bull 90:1641–1690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Doctor DH, Orndorff W (2016) Deep phreatic influence on caves and karst in the central Appalachian Great Valley. In: Chavez T, Reehling P (eds) NCKRI symposium 6, proceedings of DeepKarst 2016: origins, resources, and management of Hypogene Karst. National Cave and Karst Research Institute, Carlsbad, New Mexico, pp 89–104Google Scholar
  6. Doctor DH‚ Weary DJ‚ Brezinski DK‚ Orndorff RC‚ Spangler LE (2015) Karst of the Mid-Atlantic region in Maryland‚ West Virginia‚ and Virginia. In: Brezinski DK, Halka JP, Ortt RA Jr (eds) Tripping from the fall line: field excursions for the GSA annual meeting. Baltimore, Maryland, 2015, Geol Soc Am Field Guide 40:425–484. doi: 10.1130/9780813700403
  7. Doctor DH, Weary DJ, Orndorff RC, Harlow GE Jr, Kozar MD, Nelms DL (2008) Bedrock structural controls on the occurrence of sinkholes and springs in the northern Great Valley karst, Virginia and West Virginia. In: Proceedings of the 11th multidisciplinary conference on sinkholes and engineering and environmental impacts of karst. Tallahassee, Florida, 23–26 Sept, pp 12–22Google Scholar
  8. Doctor DH, Farrar NC, Herman JS (2011) Interaction between shallow and deep groundwater components at fay spring in the Northern Shenandoah Valley Karst. USGS Karst interest group proceedings. Fayetteville, Arkansas, 26–29 Apr, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5031, pp 25–34Google Scholar
  9. Doctor DH, Orndorff W, Maynard J, Heller MJ, Casile GC (2014) Karst geomorphology and hydrology of the Shenandoah Valley near Harrisonburg, Virginia. In: Bailey CM, Coiner LV (eds) Elevating geoscience in the Southeastern United States: NEW ideas about old terranes—field guides for the GSA southeastern section meeting. Blacksburg, Virginia, 2014, Geol Soc Am Field Guide 35:161–213. doi: 10.1130/2014.0035(06)
  10. Gathright TM, Henika WS, Sullivan JL (1978) Geology of the Mount Sidney quadrangle, Virginia. Virginia division of mineral resources publication 11, scale 1:24,000, 1 sheetGoogle Scholar
  11. Hack JT, Durloo LH (1977) Geology of Luray Caverns Virginia. Virginia division of mineral resources report of investigations 3, 43 p, 1 plateGoogle Scholar
  12. Harlow GH Jr, Orndorff RC, Nelms DL, Weary DJ, Moberg RM (2005) Hydrogeology and ground-water availability in the carbonate aquifer system of Frederick County, Virginia. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5161, 30 pGoogle Scholar
  13. Hearn PP Jr, Sutter JF, Belkin HE (1987) Evidence for late-paleozoic brine migration in Cambrian carbonate rocks of the central and southern Appalachians: implications for Mississippi Valley-type sulfide mineralization. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 51:1323–1334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Herbert P Jr, Young RS (1956) Sulfide mineralization in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Va Div Geol Bull, vol 70Google Scholar
  15. Hobba WA Jr, Fisher DW, Pearson FJ Jr, Chemerys JC (1979) Hydrology and geochemistry of thermal springs of the Appalachians. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1044-EGoogle Scholar
  16. Holsinger JR (1975) Descriptions of Virginia caves. Va Div Mineral Resour Bull 85:450Google Scholar
  17. Holsinger JR, Hubbard DA Jr, Bowman TE (1994) Biogeographic and ecological implications of newly discovered populations of the stygobiont isopod crustacean Antrolana lira Bowman (Cirolanidae). J Nat Hist 28:1047–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hutchins B (2007) Genetic divergence among populations of the Madison Cave Isopod, Antrolana lira. 2007 Natl Speleol Soc Conven Program Abs, p 77Google Scholar
  19. Kastning EH III (1995) Evolution of a karstic groundwater system, Cave Hill, Augusta County, Virginia: a multi-disciplinary study. In: Beck BF (ed) Karst Geo Hazards. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 141–148Google Scholar
  20. Lowe DJ (2000) The speleo-inception concept. In: Klimchouk AV, Ford DC, Palmer AN, Dreybrodt W (eds) Speleogenesis: evolution of karst aquifers. National Speleological Society of America, Huntsville, pp 65–75Google Scholar
  21. McCoy KJ, Kozar MD (2008) Use of sinkholes and specific capacity distributions to assess vertical gradients in a karst aquifer. Environ Geol 54:921–935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nelms DL, Moberg RM Jr (2010) Hydrogeology and groundwater availability in Clarke County, Virginia. U.S. Geol Surv Sci Invest Rep 2010-5112, 119 p. (http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5112/)
  23. Nolde JE, Giannini WF (1997) Ancient warm springs deposits in Bath and Rockingham Counties, Virginia. Va Miner 43(2):9–16Google Scholar
  24. Palmer MV (2009) Mississippi-valley-type (MVT) ores in carbonate rocks of the USA. In: Palmer AN, Palmer MV (eds) Caves and karst of the USA. National Speleological Society, Huntsville, Alabama, pp 424–425Google Scholar
  25. Palmer AN, Palmer MV (2011) Paleokarst of the USA: a brief review. In: Kuniansky EL (ed) U.S. geological survey karst interest group proceedings. Fayetteville, Arkansas, 26–29 Apr 2011. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5031Google Scholar
  26. Penick DA Jr (1987) Virginia mineral locality index. Va Miner 33(1):1–10Google Scholar
  27. Perry LD, Costain JK, Geiser PA (1979) Heat flow in western Virginia and a model for the origin of thermal springs in the folded Appalachians. J Geophys Res 84(B12):6875–6883CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Plummer LN, Busenberg E, Böhlke JK, Carmody RW, Casile GC, Coplen TB, Doughten MW, Hannon JE, Kirkland W, Michel RL, Nelms DL, Norton BC, Plummer KE, Qi H, Revesz K, Schlosser P, Spitzer S, Wayland JE, Widman PK (2000) Chemical and isotopic composition of water from springs, wells, and streams in parts of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, and vicinity, 1995–1999. U.S. geological survey open file report 00-373Google Scholar
  29. Reeves F (1932) Thermal springs of Virginia. Va Geol Surv Bull 36:56 (2 plates)Google Scholar
  30. Southworth CS, Gray KJ, Sutter JF (1993) Middle Eocene intrusive igneous rocks of the central Appalachian Valley and Ridge Province—setting, chemistry, and implications for crustal structure. In: Evolution of sedimentary basins—appalachian basin, U.S. Geol Surv Bull 1839 (Chapter J)Google Scholar
  31. Tso JL, McDowell RR, Avary KL, Matchen DL, Wilkes GP (2004) Middle eocene igneous rocks in the valley and ridge of Virginia and West Virginia. USGS Circular 1264 Trip 4:137–161Google Scholar
  32. Vesper DJ, Grand RV, Ward K, Donovan JJ (2008) Geochemistry of a spring-dense karst watershed located in a complex structural setting, Appalachian Great Valley, West Virginia, USA. Environ Geol. doi: 10.1007/s00254-008-1541-4
  33. Virginia Division of Mineral Resources (2003) Digital representation of the 1993 geologic map of Virginia, publication 174, scale 1:500,000, CD ROM (ISO-9660)Google Scholar
  34. Wieczorek G, Harrison RW, Morgan BA, Weems RE, Obermeier SF (2004) Detection of faults and fault traces in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia using LIDAR imagery. Geol Soc Am Abs Programs 36(2):120Google Scholar
  35. Yager RM, Plummer LN, Kauffman LJ, Doctor DH, Nelms DL, and Schlosser P (2013) Comparison of age distributions estimated from environmental tracers by using binary-dilution and numerical models of fractured and folded karst. Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA. Hydrol J. doi: 10.1007/s10040-013-0997-9

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyRestonUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Natural Heritage ProgramChristiansburgUSA

Personalised recommendations