Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Round Top #8 Cave, Washington County

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Round Top Cave No. 8 is a shelter cave which is developed in the apex of a closely folded anticline in the Bloomsburg Formation, 900 feet east of the mill and 25 feet above the canal. It is 50 feet wide, 20 feet high, and 40 feet long.

Round Top #8 Cave (photo by Dennis Slifer)
Round Top #8 Cave


There are numerous abandoned limestone mines and several small caves along the railroad cuts and the C & O Canal near Round Top, the most obvious of which are frequently visited by explorers and hikers. It is likely that most of these mines were originally caves which have been enlarged by operations for obtaining cement rock that was burned in the kilns nearby and shipped on the canal. The majority of these mines are straight passages which follow the strike of anticlinal fold axes. The rock was apparently easily mined by “peeling” the bedding planes off of the walls as slabs, and the constant passage configuration and wall slope facilitated placement of timbers for shoring. Consequently, most of these mines have triangular cross-sections with a ridge of breakdown and debris on the floor and heavy timbers supporting the walls in places. Standing water, of varying depth is found in some of the mines, along with old metal pipe which was apparently used for pumping purposes. No speleothems have been observed in these mines. The footing is precarious in most cases and should be considered dangerous, but the walls and ceiling appear to be relatively stable and free from danger of collapse.

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