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Edgewood Cavern - An Unusual Underground Discovery by John T. M. Lyles

Tue, 2018-05-22

In 1970, a new geologic discovery was made in Edgewood, at the southern edge of Santa Fe county near I-40. A water-well driller hit a void and dropped his drill bit. Air pressure from the hole indicated that the void was extensive, likely a large cave. A few years later, the property owner worked with the driller to sink a human-diameter shaft into the ground, using a custom bit. This 128 foot deep shaft was cased and cave explorers were called in, to dig into the passages beyond a blowing crack at the bottom of the shaft. Eventually they succeeded and Edgewood Cavern became a local curiosity. It never turned into a commercial enterprise like the owner wanted, but for decades he held hope on selling the land for one million dollars. Over the years local cavers explored and mapped miles of passages in the cave, notable for its extensive jointing and the ease of getting lost in it. 260 million year-old fossils are exposed in one region of the cave. John Lyles, a local caver, became interested in 2002, and worked with the landlord to maintain access for science and exploration. Fresh newspaper reports and published scientific work were produced during this period. A complete remapping of the cave began and has documented more passages. In 2017, life situations changed and the owner of the property agreed to sell the land to Lyles. In recent months, significant work has been undertaken to clean up the property, and build a permanent structure to protect the entrance of the cave. This should provide long-term safe access for explorers and cave scientists. Some of the highlights of earlier trips into the cave will be shown, along with the 2018 clean up and refurbishment at the entrance.


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