Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 22 Part 1: 54-65 - January 1960

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Origin and Development of Fulford Cave, Colorado
John V. Thrailkill


Fulford Cave, a solution cave in the Leadville limestone, consits of a series of parallel passages which extend along the strike of the beds and which are connected at their northeastern ends by a passage parallel to the dip. This passage is occupied by a stream throughout most of its length. The known pasages of the cave have an aggregate length of half a mile and the cave has a vertical extent of over 200 feet.

Although development of cavities occurred in the Leadville limestone during late Paleozoic time, these cavities have since been filled with detritus, and the present cave has been excavated more recently. Erosional and depositional features within the cave indicates that its present form is due to erosion and deposition in these three successive environments, of which the principal characteristics are: (1) conditions of slowly moving groundwater far below the water table; (2) conditions of more rapidly moving groundwater just below the water table; and (3) air filled conditions in which only vadose water is present. It is believed that the principal cave excavation occurred during the second of these environments, probably as the water table was intermittently lowered during Wisconsin time.

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