Technical Matters - The Way On ?
1: Introduction - (revised Thu Nov 10, 2011)
This page outlines our original plans for dealing with this dig and then describes the current position of the dig, which is somewhat different. The digging plan was devised quite some time ago but only outlined on this page in August 2011. The text of the plan is being left in its original form, but the original accompanying array of ten photographs has been reduced to a more reasonable two. Section three of this page outlines the current situation and this section will be revised whenever significant developments occur.
2: The Plan (Tue Aug 2, 2011)
As explained elsewhere, in the early days of the dig, various ways were mooted to conduct digging at the site once the shaft stabilisation had been dealt with. It was clear from the start that whatever method was followed, there was likely to be a heavy consumption of both concrete and steelwork and an early task was the ordering of 10 tonnes of aggregate and the aquisition of as much heavy gauge steelwork as I could get my grubby hands on.
That was OK as a starter, but as work progressed, the thought of actually having to carry out some of the more hair-brained digging schemes became progressively more unattractive and our attention increasingly turned towards the idea of working into the rift-like feature at the western extremity of the dig, first seen in August 2008.
Realistically, this feature offers the best and possibly even the only chance of digging the site to a successful conclusion. The general idea is to dig into the narrow part of the feature and then secure the roof. Then a little bit of gentle re-arrangement of the solid would give us a shaft which, although it would be offset from the main one, would have the great advantage that the shoring requirements could be drastically reduced. Only the relatively narrow junction between feature and main rift would have to be supported. We are working towards this at the moment.
Figure 1. Shows the relative positions of the shaft, the rock walls and the rift feature. Please note that the south wall of the main rift was never seen. We only heard the teeth of the excavator bucket scraping against rock, so there is SOMETHING solidish there. There is also a possibility that the western wall continues to the south and that the shaft is in an "L" or possibly an "X" shaped feature.
Figure 2. Shows the intended modification to the rift-like feature. That is if we ever manage to get into it. However, assuming that small fact, we would gain by a dramatic reduction in shoring requirements, but lose by increase complexity in the hauling arrangements. Something to look forward to anyway.
Note - (added 11AUG11): The diagrams above have been redrawn to show the north wall more accurately. It appears that arête-like features in the north wall continue downwards to the level we are at now and that the north wall approaches the shaft and then curves away again. Probing the fill with a 'long' bar seems to indicate the same. It is difficult to be certain because the 1.2 metre internal diameter of the shaft limits the length of bar that can be used.
The photographs below show the feature as it appeared in August 2008.
3: The Current Situation (Thu Nov 10, 2011)
Digging out from the bottom of the shaft into the 'feature' mentioned in the plan above has in fact produced a result far better than the one hoped for. We now have an initial chamber, the Annex, which is more or less stable. At the back of this chamber is a rift heading west, (Rough Diamond Rift or RDR for short) which intersects a cross rift. This cross rift is as yet un-named, (but there is still time). At the junction of RDR and the cross rift there is a drop, currently too narrow to descend, but which is a very good basis for the way on. So for the first time ever in my experience, the cave has provided exactly what we could have wished for. So far so good.
The diagram below is not intended to be a survey, rather more an arrangement diagram, primarily to locate all the various named areas. So many names - so little passage.
Created: Tue Aug 2 09:06:55 2011