California Caverns

Los Angeles Evening Herald Express ( 28 September 1934 )

330-Mile California Cave System Rediscovered

Across the eastern edge of California, and extending for 300 miles from the southern tip of Nevada, through Death Valley to the Mexican line, there exists a system of giant underground caves, through which flows a mighty subterranean river, and which, when fully explored, may prove to rival in beauty and extent the world-famed Carlsbad caverns in New Mexico.

That was the opinion expressed today by A.W. Plummer, Hoolywpood photographer and desert explorer, who, for the first time, exhibited amazing photographs of many of the 14 cavern openings that he has investigated during the past three years.

Cavern System

Plummer said he was not the original discoverer of the caves, for, he declared, many of them were known even to the early Indians. But he claimed to be the first to work on the theory that these numerous holes in the earth's crust, ranging over a wide area, were evidences of a gigantic cavern system and that all of the caves were linked together.

Many of the chambers revealed within the great caverns are 50 feet or more in length and breadth and 30 feet or more in height. From their ceilings hand glistening stalactites similar to those of the Carlsbad caves, Plummer said.

Far down in the black and hidden recesses, and in some place can even be seen, rushing water, giving evidence of the underground river.

Fresh Winds

Great winds blow up from the cavern depths -- fresh winds, which like the presence of the running water, indicates to Plummer, he says, that the many caverns are linked one with the other in a huge cave system.

Plummer said he first heard of the news from Indians who had a legend that great windstorms that visited the desert blew up from the depths of the hidden chasms. For a year, he said, he hunted for these "wind holes", finally coming upon one of them on a limestone butte on the desert floor.

With the aid of a helper he slid through a hole the size of a barrel-top to a point 10 feet below where the cave narrowed abruptly. At the end of a rope, he lowered himself through the narrow slit a distance of 65 feet to a ledge.

First Of Caves

There, through aperatures too small to permit his passage, he beheld the first of the large stalactite-hung rooms.

Since then, Plummer says he has found 14 different openings, strung ouit over 300 miles in a jagged and twisting line. The largest openings he has found closer to the Mexican border. Each opening leads to huge rooms or chambers at greater depths.

Plummer's theory of the caves is that in early geologic periods there was a gigantic upheaval that caused the buckling of the earth's crust along the approximate line of the cavern openings he has found.

Water was allowed to penetrate to great depths by the broken aperative thus caused, combining with chemical deposits and causing great geysers.

Cavern Openings

These Plummer believes are the cavern openings found today.

Later water seepage caused to river which he believes is flowing deep under the ground and the river, it is his opinion, carried away great masses of sediment, allowing the caves to be formed.

Los Angeles Evening Herald Express ( 28 September 1934 )