Paper accepted at 2nd International Congress
September 24-27 2005
The Riverbluff Cave Site of Greene County, Missouri.
Matthew Forir, Springfield-Greene County Parks, 1923 North Weller Ave. Springfield, Mo 65803; Chuck Ciampaglio, Dept. Geology, Wright State Univ. Celina, Oh 45822

The Riverbluff Cave Site was discovered on September 11, 2001 during construction of a road in Southwest Greene County, Missouri. Workers accidentally blasted a 40 feet wide by 20 feet high fissure into a large room that was heavily decorated with speleothems. Five days later the cave was sealed off with plate steel and three air tight lockable gates installed to control access to the cave and maintain the caves natural environmental conditions. Seven months later, after road construction was completed and the last section of the access tunnel was installed, the cave was reopened for mapping and paleontological work to begin.

The cave contains a well stratified sequence of Pliestocene sediments throughout the entire 2200 ft of the main passage, with a maximum thickness of just over 18 feet. The lower clay deposits contain plant remains. Early findings suggest a magnetic reversal within this clay layer. Middle deposits are of higher energy deposition and contain a number of stream derived sediments in the form of sand and gravel bar deposits. Bones of both Mammuthus sp. and Equs sp. are found within these deposits. Upper deposits are of finely laminated clays, suggesting a lower energy depositional environment and are dominated by tortoises and smaller mammals such as rodents.

The present day floor and walls preserve a wide variety of bone, track ways and beds. Bone from Platygonus sp., snakes and small mammals are found littering the floor throughout the cave. Track ways of Platygonus sp., the only documented track way site for this animal and claw marks of Arctodus sp. dominate the passageways and show widespread use of the cave. Bear beds belonging to Arctodus sp. are found in many of the side passages in the cave. These beds are scratched out of the clay and still retain the claw marks and hair impressions on the sides of them.

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