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Science in the Burnsville Cove


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In late March 2019,at a meeting of the Geological Society of America Southeastern Section, Emily Brent and colleagues (Michael Knez, Brian Williams, John Haynes, Phil Lucas, and Chris Swezey) presented the results of studies of Owl Cave in Burnsville Cove. The published abstract may be found at the following web site: 

Geology and Geomorphology of Owl Cave (Siphon No. 1 Cave):

Emily Brant was the recipient of a 2018 BCCS Sinking Creek Grant. 


Current State

The "Science in the Burnsville Cove 2018" report from Will White and the BCCS Science Committee:

BCCS Science 2018 Report

Interesting Potential Research Projects in the Burnsville Cove

Will White, a long time BCCS member, cave explorer, and Geosciences Professor Emeritus at Penn State, put together a list of research projects that could be conducted in the Burnsville Cove for presentation at the October 1, 2016 BCCS Annual Business Meeting. Here are his slides and a writeup on the potential science Dr. White has suggested.

BCCS Future Science slides Will White Feb 2017

BCCS Future Science Will White Feb 2017


Sinking Creek Grant

The Butler Cave Conservation Society is proud to announce a new science grant program, the Sinking Creek Grant, has been established in 2016. The first grant in this program was awarded in February 2017 to Dr. Jenn Macalady, et al., to support their microbial cave slime research.

The Sinking Creek Grant Program is a new science initiative of the Butler Cave Conservation Society, Inc. (BCCS). Its purpose will be to provide small monetary grants, typically on the order of a few hundred dollars, to help defray costs associated with carrying out cave and karst science research in and around the Burnsville Cove, Virginia.



Major scientific publications dedicated to the Burnsville Cove

The Burnsville Cove Symposium, National Speleological Society Bulletin 44, number 3, 1982.

https://caves.org/nss-business/publications/JCKS/Bulletin/Vol%2044%20num%203.pdf (NSS Members only)

The Caves of the Burnsville Cove, Virginia. Cave and Karst Systems of the World, Springer Publishing Switzerland, 2015.




Scientific papers and other publications relevant to the cave and karst of the Burnsville Cove

Conditions in Burnsville Cove during the last glacial maximum:


Geologic controls on cave development in Burnsville Cove:

Swezey et al 2017 Burnsville Cove GSA FIELD GUIDE

Deike, G.H., III, 1960, Origin and geologic relations of Breathing Cave, Virginia: Bulletin of the National Speleological Society, v. 22, pt. 1, p. 30-42.


Chess, Daniel et al., Acta Carsologica 39(1), 11-26 (2010), CLASTIC SEDIMENTS IN THE BUTLER CAVE – SINKING CREEK SYSTEM, VIRGINIA, USA




Scientific papers and other publications relevant to the flora and fauna in and around the cave and karst of the Burnsville Cove

Cooper, J.E., 1962, Cave records for the salamander Plethodon r. richmondi Pope, with notes on additional cave-associated species: Herpetologica, v. 17, no. 4, p. 250-255.

Holsinger, J.R., 1982, A preliminary report on the cave fauna of Burnsville Cove, Virginia: NSS Bulletin, v. 44, p. 98-101.

Hubbard, D.A., Jr., 1994-1995, Update on the invertebrate cave fauna of Burnsville Cove, Va.: Butler Cave Conservation Society (BCCS) Newsletter, v. 20, p. 29-30.

Holsinger, J.R., Culver, D.C., Hubbard, D.A., Jr., Orndorff, W.D., and Hobson, C.S., 2013, The invertebrate cave fauna of Virginia: Banisteria, v. 42, p. 9-56.


Compiled list of the rare animals of Virginia, included a number found in the Burnsville Cove.:

Rare Animals, Natural Heritage Technical Report 16-07, February 2016





Publications about the exploration of the caves in the Burnsville Cove

Caves and Karst of the Water Sinks Area By Philip Lucas. This is a free ebook; hardcopy is also available on lulu.com.



[The website editor welcomes any additions or corrections to this list.]


ResearchGate suggested search




Fictional publications about caving in the Burnsville Cove

The webmaster apologizes for including a fictional publication on the "Science" page, but there didn't seem to be a better place for this at the time.