Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 26 Number 2: 37-60 - April 1964

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Cavern Development in the Greenbrier Series, West Virginia
Thomas E. Wolfe


The spatial distribution of major cavern passages within a local area is a key to determining their origin. Four hypotheses concerning the causes of accordance, or development of nearly horizonatal cavern passages within a zone or plane through the limestone, are considered and evaluated as to their control of cavern formation in southeastern West Virginia. These four are: structural control, erosion level control, water table control, and lithologic control. The conclusions drawn with the aid of cross sections indicate that a major erosion level, described as the Harrisburg Peneplain, appears to have been a key factor in the local development of major horizontal cavern passages. Their accordance may have been produced as a result of water table stabilization over a long period during the planation of the erosion level. It is further suggested that this development took place well below the water table.

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