|What the heck? Read on to solve this little mystery..|
The sinkholes and caves would fill with debris from above, some being carried by rivers and streams. A new formation was described in the 1970s, nearly a century after one would think all the formations had been discovered. Appropriately known as the Surprise Canyon Formation, it is composed of stream gravels and silt layers deposited within the karst openings of the Redwall in late Mississippian and early Pennsylvanian time. It was looking more and more like I was finally standing in the opening of a cave that existed before the age of the dinosaurs! It had been protected through the ages by the fill of dirt and gravel.
We stopped and explored the tunnels. I didn't take a camera, but I was surprised at the length (and complexity) of the tunnels. In the greatest depths there were hundreds of stalactites growing from the cave ceiling. New flowstone was draped on the tunnel walls like white icing on the side of a cake. The new speleothems were pearly white, and the stalactities were about an inch long. I was witnessing the formation of a brand new cavern after exploring another that has existed for geological eras. It was a strange juxtaposition, and the tunnels a jarring contrast to the magic of the river. What insanity would allow a dam to be built here?