Princess Margaret Rose Cave
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The Princess Margaret Rose Cave is one of the most attractive caves and contains excellent examples of actively growing stalactites, stalagmites, helictites and other spectacular limestone formations.
Formation of Limestone Caves
Cave formation begins when rainwater absorbs carbon dioxide as it falls through the atmosphere. As the rainwater filters through the soil it also absorbs the carbon dioxide that is being released by dead plant material. The carbon dioxide absorbed by the water forms a dilute carbonic acid (H2O + CO2 = H2CO3) solution. Limestone is webbed with joints (vertical) and bedding planes (horizontal), along which the solution of carbonic acid travels, slowing dissolving the limestone. This acidic solution is able to dissolve the rock, as limestone is a form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This process is known as chemical erosion. As the limestone reacts with the carbonic acid it forms a calcium bicarbonate solution. As this solution flows through the cracks in the rock and into more open, or already eroded, areas the carbon dioxide is released from solution and the calcium carbonate is slowing deposited on the rock surfaces forming the spectacular Stalactites, Stalagmites (the mites go up and the tites come down!) and other structures that characterise limestone caves.
The Princess Margaret Rose Caves
As already mentioned most limestone caves are formed by water seeping down through cracks and fault lines in the limestone, dissolving the rock and creating fissures and tunnels. The formation of Princess Margaret Rose Cave, however, was assisted by water from the Glenelg River which worked its way along a fault line for approx 500m. This occurred above its present height. The water scalloped the walls of the cave and wore a reasonably level floor.
Mr K. McEachern and Mr J. Hutchesson and his sons Alan & Bernie, first explored the cave in 1936.The original entrance was a 17m vertical shaft, as visitor access was restricted a stairwell had to be dug through the limestone, this stairwell took Keith and Bunny 5 years to dig. They developed the cave as a tourist attraction with “Bunny" Hutchesson acting as the first permanent guide, conducting tours from 4th January 1941. Since 1980, the cave has been part of the Lower Glenelg National Park.
You will need to visit the information centre to complete the following task;
Please email us the answers for tasks 1 through 6. Do Not post them in your on line log
- In the case of the Princess Margaret Rose Cave, what was the apparent starting point, and what is it's probable linear length?
- What is the minimum length of time for a drop of water to pause during the formation of a straw?
- How long can straws grow?
- How far did Keith McEachern descend on his first trip into the caves?
- What was the entrance fee for adults and children when the caves first opened?
- How did the caves get their name?
- Post a photograph of you and you GPS in front the sign marking the original entrance to the cave system.
Please note that the visitor centre is open most days, except Christmas Day, 09:30 to 17:00. With reduced hours during June, July and August 10:30 to 15:00
Other Facilities and Activities
Whilst it is not a requirement to log this cache the guided tour of the cave is highly recommended and time well spent.
The park has three basic bush cabins for hire. Each cabin has hot water, sink, microwave, fridge, hot plates and sleeps 4 people in two double bunks. Outside each cabin is a wood pit BBQ for cooking or camp fires. NB:Bring your own bedding and firewood. Min 2 night stay long weekends and school holidays. Booking is essential.
Additionally there are ten unpowered camp sites and seven unpowered van sites. Booking is essential.
Princess Margaret Rose Caves
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