With a loud rumbling noise that Julian Walford found reminiscent of a close encounter with a low-flying RAF jet, the bottom of Rana disappeared yesterday! Well not quite the bottom, or Julian would have followed it. During the last digging session a few weeks ago by Julian and Peter Reynolds the bottom prop came loose and some of the fill behind it tumbled out. During yesterday's visit to clear up the collapse and remove the debris the whole area behind the shoring suddenly descended and rolled away from the diggers - who no doubt moved with even greater speed in the opposite direction!
What was left was a rubble floored crawl descending at about 45 degrees for nine metres to an inviting hole. The walls and roof look pretty good but the collapse has left boulders hanging overhead. The props and metal grids used to restrain the contents of the shakehole are still in place but now in free air. They need repositioned before too much work is done underneath.
The timing couldn't be better for the Mendip Migration to sample the first bit of air filled passage found in Rana since we started digging. More work will be done in it tomorrow and next weekend, but there's probably still plenty of work to do before we enter Claonaite 7. And a few more props coming north next weekend could be very necessary.
This collapse would also appear to have removed the ponding water problem. There's nowhere for it to pond any more!
The happy diggers were:- Julian Walford, John Crae, Martin Hayes.
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