Recently discovered passages in Fort Stanton Cave, New Mexico, and implications for speleogenesis and regional geomorphic processes in the northern Sacramento Mountains
Donald G. Davis and Lewis Land
Fort Stanton Cave in Lincoln County, the third-longest surveyed cave in New Mexico at 18 km, was one of the earliest caves in the state to be noted in written records, but its development has received little study. Other large New Mexico limestone solution caves, such as Carlsbad Cavern, are of hypogenic origin. Fort Stanton Cave is hydrologically almost inactive today, but its passage structure and patterns, and ubiquitous allogenic sediment deposits, indicate that it was dissolved by epigenic meteoric water originating primarily in locations yet undetermined to the south and west. Discovery of the Snowy River complex, a major NNE-trending passage series located to the east of the original cave, provides new opportunities for further extension of the cave, and for age-dating, paleoclimatic study, and paleohydrologic analysis. These may shed light on the evolution of the landscape east of the northern Sacramento Mountains, and on the past behavior of groundwater and surface water in this region.
- Davis, Donald G.; Land, Lewis, 2006, Recently discovered passages in Fort Stanton Cave, New Mexico, and implications for speleogenesis and regional geomorphic processes in the northern Sacramento Mountains, in: Caves and karst of southeastern New Mexico, Land, Lewis; Lueth, Virgil W.; Raatz, William; Boston, Penny; Love, David L., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 57th Field Conference, pp. 219-226.