JOINTED JEWEL: A STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE WORLD’S MOST COMPLEX CAVE SYSTEM
The network outline of Jewel Cave is closely related to the stresses within the uplifting Black Hills during the early Tertiary Laramide orogeny (Palmer et al., 1989). Variations in stratigraphic facies of the Pahasapa Limestone result in joint systems in successive stories that display different frequencies and orientations (Ford, 1989). Since the structural nature of the Pahasapa Limestone is a primary control on cave passage morphology and orientation, quantifying structural controls on superimposed ascending joint systems can help to predict the location of new passageways. A partnership between the National Park Service and the Geoscientists In the Parks (GIP) program facilitated an internship study to map and quantify the Laramide deformation of the Pahasapa Limestone using a combination of field mapping techniques and ArcGIS to aid in exploration efforts and future monument boundary revisions.