The Redwall Limestone had its origin in a sort of serenity, or maybe stability is the better word. For millions of years during the Mississippian Period, between about 360 and 323 million years ago, a shallow tropical sea spread and regressed across the continental interior. The tropical waters were filled with life, including crinoids (sea lilies), brachiopods, bryozoans, clams, snails, fish, sharks, and even a few trilobites. It accumulated to depths of 400 to 800 feet, and the hard limestone forms one of the most prominent cliffs in the Grand Canyon (the location of practically every trail in Grand Canyon is determined by where it can cross the Redwall).
It turns out, though, that humans have used the cave for a long time. 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, humans constructed split twig figurines, and left them in Stanton's Cave by the dozens. It is thought that 165 of these precious archaeological treasures were removed by visitors between 1934 and 1969 before the park service removed the remaining 74 during an excavation (my feelings about this looting is unmentionable in this family-rated blog).
|Split twig figurines on display at Tusayan Ruins, South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park|
Most recently, the cave has been occupied by several species of bats, including the rare Townsends big-eared bat. The largest nesting colony known in Arizona was present here years ago, but persistent tourist incursions drove them away. Eventually a gate was constructed to allow access for the bats, but to keep people out. Apparently it has been working, and a colony has been re-established.
check out this example of the cavern during an intense monsoon storm. It's awe-inspiring...