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Snail Shell Cave

by Larry E Matthews; Bob Biddix; National Speleological Society.

  Print book : Manuscript   Archival Material  |  First edition

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Snail Shell Cave   (2014-05-13)


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by captainbloft

This book was published in August 2012 by the National Speleological Society, the largest group of cave explorers and cave scientists in the United States.  It was written by Bob Biddix and Larry E. Matthews, both of whom live in Middle Tennessee and have explored this cave system for much of their lives.

Snail Shell Cave is part of a vast, underground drainage system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, that begins near Eagleville then flows northeast for 13 miles to emerge as a huge spring on the bank of the West Fork of the Stones River.  Although most of the currently known, mapped passages are air-filled and accessible by conventional methods of cave exploration, it appears that much of this cave is totally underwater and will only be explored by cave divers.  Already cave divers have explored and mapped several sections of these underwater passages.  Entrance to these water-filled passages is through Blue Holes that dot the landscape.

The cave system has a complex, three-dimensional, dendritic pattern and it is conservatively estimated that at least 50 miles of cave passages exist in this system; probably more.  Dye traces run during evaluation for the proposed Superconducting Super Collider in the 1980s revealed startling information about the extent and complexity of this cave system.

This book is lavishly illustrated with photographs and maps.  It begins with the early exploration in the 1950s by Tom Barr and other local cavers, follows exploration and mapping throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and continues up through the current daring and exciting exploration by cave divers.  Exploration still continued as this book went to press.


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