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The cave descriptions and maps were used to produce a highly tentative chronology for the development of the caves of Burnsville Cove. It begins with the establishment in the late Cretaceous to mid-Tertiary of the Schooley erosion surface. There may have been early hydrothermal development of deep solution pathways by the Eocene volcanism. Cave development accelerated in the Miocene by south-flowing water that created the upper level trunk passages in Chestnut Ridge. The Bullpasture River was captured along the Water Sinks lineament producing a reversal of gradients and a reversal of drainage to its present discharge points in the Bullpasture River springs. There was massive sediment in-filling in the mid-Pleistocene followed by removal of the sediment and further modification of the cave systems from the mid-Pleistocene to the present.
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- Geomorphic Evolution of the Burnsville Cove Caves
William B. White
- Chapter 24