• Ghar Parau dinner invitation

    Have you or your club benefitted from Ghar Parau funding for an expedition?

    To mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its creation, a meal is to be held at the Anchor Inn in Tideswell, Derbyshire on Saturday 11th February, 2023. As well as a meal there will be speakers on behalf of the original Ghar Parau explorers and the current GPF committee.

    Details here

Oxlow - terminal pitch

caving_fox

Member
I don't imagine many people ever bother dropping the final couple of meters to the oxlow/Maskill sump (handline?!) from the bottom of Waterfall chamber.

If you do - bring your own rope!

There's a very calcited in-situ rope, feels solid with the amount of encrustation on it. And until yesterday there was a chain too. I picked up the chain preparatory to peering over the edge, and most of it came away in my hands and splashed into the pool. A link had fully corroded through. Don't know how long it had been there, but it isn't any more.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
That rope was calcited solid at the top ten years ago at least, so it's almost certainly double that age. The amount of precipitation in that chamber is quite remarkable for a sump - I can't think of many that are quite that encrusted right from the top.
 

i think it goes

New member
I don't imagine many people ever bother dropping the final couple of meters to the oxlow/Maskill sump (handline?!) from the bottom of Waterfall chamber.

If you do - bring your own rope!

There's a very calcited in-situ rope, feels solid with the amount of encrustation on it. And until yesterday there was a chain too. I picked up the chain preparatory to peering over the edge, and most of it came away in my hands and splashed into the pool. A link had fully corroded through. Don't know how long it had been there, but it isn't any more.
I don't suppose you happened to see some knots tied into the bottom of the calcited chain did you? I put some in a few months back to try and gauge the speed of the process down there but haven't had a chance to return just yet. The calcited bucket at the bottom is also an interesting sight if you don't mind getting particularly wet : )
 
That rope was calcited solid at the top ten years ago at least, so it's almost certainly double that age. The amount of precipitation in that chamber is quite remarkable for a sump - I can't think of many that are quite that encrusted right from the top.
Has anyone dived it Phil?
 

caving_fox

Member
I don't suppose you happened to see some knots tied into the bottom of the calcited chain did you? I put some in a few months back to try and gauge the speed of the process down there but haven't had a chance to return just yet. The calcited bucket at the bottom is also an interesting sight if you don't mind getting particularly wet : )
Sorry didn't get to see that far.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Tony Buckley dived it in 1976 the only outlet seems to be back under the pitch, towards west chamber, which soon chokes, it would have been good to have a look this last summer?

We may get the 'benefit' of a drought most summers from now on ;)
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Tony Buckley dived it in 1976 the only outlet seems to be back under the pitch, towards west chamber, which soon chokes, it would have been good to have a look this last summer?

That's interesting; Tony did some pretty good stuff in his SYCC days but I didn't know he'd dived there in 1976. (He was lucky there was any water in it that year!) A quick glance through CDG sources hasn't thrown up any dive log; do you know where he reported it? The original dive there, which found it badly choked, was by perhaps by Shag Smith I think (in 1973) or possibly by Ken Pearce before then. This is based on comments in Dave Elliot's 1973 guide: "Caves of Northern Derbyshire Part 2; Giants-Oxlow System" - particularly page 11.

I thought the general feeling was the sump is likely to be very badly blocked, due material being washed in from the activities of generations of lead miners. Doesn't it dry up completely in drought, to reveal a fairly uninspiring-looking choke of mineral debris?
 

pwhole

Well-known member
From John Beck's PhD thesis, 1976:

The stream passage of 'New Oxlow', as this eastern area is known, became incised during this stage, and headward incision of a series of steps began. The inlet into Faucet Rake at the lower end of West Antechamber is likely to have operated for the first time during this stage. Subsequent events in Oxlow are obscure, for the lowest levels of development have not yet been observed. Vadose modification of the extreme lower end of the stream passage has occurred since Stage 3, as also has some modification of the West Antechamber inlet. The water entering here now sinks into the boulder floor.

At some point between the shale margin and Faucet Rake, the tuff which represents the Lower Millers Dale Lava has its feather edge. It does not seem to be present near to the margin, with the possible exception of the area around the top of the Winnats Pass, where it may be present in Winnats Head Cave as a series of thin clay wayboards. Possibly the steep depositional dips caused the material to spill over the reef front and to become dissipated on the slope. In Oxlow Caverns the tuff, here referred to as the Nettle Tuff because of its influence on the development of Nettle Pot, is seen at the top of the Second Pitch at an elevation of 1330 ft (4o5.4 m) A .O .D . The horizon is largely washed out, but may be up to 30 cms thick in Oxlow. It is characteristic of the area in which the tuff is present that joint or vein-controlled cavities increase dramatically in size below it. This is so in Oxlow; the cavities are immense below the tuff. Development of such cavities as West Chamber are a combination of enlargement of primary vein cavities by slow moving water during the early stages of phreatic flow, and, subsequent to lowering of water levels, modification by percolating water rendered more aggressive in its passage over the tuff by oxidation of pyrite, in which such tuffs abound. The present main drainage route, thought to follow Faucet Rake, lies deep below the known cave at Oxlow. The nature of this route is unknown.
 
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