Abstract

A model of cave sedimentation and genesis is used to gain greater resolution and accuracy in the calculation of an incision rate for Cheat River, West Virginia. Maze caves along the river and their primary sediments were created and deposited beneath base level. Single conduit caves are largely unrelated to base level and their sediments are derived from overlying strata. A magnetostratigraphic record is reported for cave sediments within the canyon. The magnetostratigraphy of each sample is plotted versus elevation relative to base level and depositional environment (vadose or phreatic). The resulting chart accurately depicts the range of error associated with using cave sediments as indicators of previous base-level positions. This technique can be applied within any future studies using cave sediments for deriving incision rates of rivers. The calculated incision rate of Cheat River within the study area is between 56.0 and 63.2 mm/k.y.

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