Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Geology


Berry Cave is a vadose system, and is classified as a branchwork cave with superposed anastomotic mazes. The cave is situated in the non-glaciated karst region of Roubidoux Creek in Pulaski County, south-central Missouri. Two types of sediment deposits have been identified in the cave: an allogenic fine clay fill preserved in a stream cut canyon and an autogenic/allogenic loam comprising a debris flow. The surface soil above the cave is silt loam, and is the source for the sediments o f the debris flow in Berry Cave. Three episodes o f geomorphic development have been determined to be related to sediment deposition within Berry Cave. The first is the deposition of fine clay units in the cave. These units may have been deposited as slackwater deposits. Next is the erosion of the clay fill units resulting in the formation o f a stream cut canyon in the cave sediments, which was associated with the cave’s transition(s) from vadose flow to phreatic. Finally is the deposition of the debris flow sediments that is related to the present day vadose flow through the cave system. This model of cave sedimentation, though simplified, provides the best understanding of the timing and effects of post-depositional alterations of sediments in Berry Cave. Although the present literature suggests that the weathering o f cave sediments is limited or absent in many cave systems, it is important to recognize that weathering does occur to cave sediments. The sediments in Berry Cave were affected by post-depositional weathering processes throughout the geomorphic evolution of the cave system. These post depositional alterations include: enrichment, melanization, illuviation of clay minerals, iron translocation, and braunification, rubifaction, and ferrugination. The postdepositional processes that affected the clay fill sediments are presently inactive, because there is not sufficient water available to alter these sediments. Conversely the processes affecting the debris flow are active.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Geography and Geology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1997, Melissa L. Milner.

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