New ‘Party Cove Cave’ Filled with Speleothems and…Zebra Mussel Shells

Party Cove Cave - Canyon Lake
Image courtesy of Ethan Perrine with UTgrotto.org.

The new cave discovered along Canyon Lake’s shoreline is an “alcove of no significance,” geologically speaking.

“One way to think about this type of a shelter cave is that the (Guadalupe) river cut a big groove in the bluff,” said George Veni, Ph.D, data manager for the Texas Speleological Survey, a nonprofit that collects and archives data on Texas caves and karst features.

Until UT Grotto’s Ethan Perrine explored the cave for Veni on Oct. 1, experts thought it might be part of the Honey Creek Hydrostratigraphic Unit.

“Based on photos and its description, what we are now officially calling Party Cove Cave appears to be formed when the Guadalupe River or a tributary flowed along the base of a short bluff to cut away the limestone and create the cave,” Veni said. “This is the most common type of shelter cave.”

“What is unusual for a shelter cave is the size and number of speleothems (stalactites, stalagmites and related formations) and their proximity to the entrance,” he said. “I suspect the short bluff extended further out toward the lake and collapsed long ago, so the speleothems would have formed further in cave from the entrance, which is where they more typically occur.”

Perrine said the cave is filled with Zebra mussel shells.

“The mud floor is deep, and I watched a few people get stuck over the course of mapping,” he said. “Some of the neighbors stopped by and said they’re keeping an eye out for hooligans.”

Anyone interested in learning more about local cave exploration can visit utgrotto.org or bexargrotto. org.




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  1. So interesting, I lived at Mount Lookout for 45 years. Back in 1970 .
    I live in New Braunfels now.
    Loved to know more.

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