To download the survey reports of Grotte de Marie Jeanne carried out by the Hoffman Institute please click here.

Grotte Marie-Jeanne

Key Features

Grotte Marie-Jeanne is an unusual cave system with respect to its morphology, layout and in terms of its natural resources (geologic, biologic, historic/cultural, archaeological). The caves contain a number of significant natural resources including speleothems of all types and size, and speleogens that are unique to tropical caves. The series of large passages and chambers are visually enhanced by the large, intact and undamaged speleothems that cover the walls, ceilings and floors.

Positioned at an elevation of 120 metres, it has a vertical extent of 41 metres and is developed on at least 3 different levels with 56 recorded chambers. A large surface collapse is the main entrance to the system. The entrance doline has a tremendous amount of scenic value because of the existing forest that it contains and the cave entrances that open from itís periphery. The many entrances and skylights allow for the development of a unique cave ecosystem that has not yet been fully identified or studied.

The cave is a repository of features that will provide data about the development of the cave and its relationship to the surface topography. These features also impart information on paleo-climate, sea level changes, and paleo and current hydrogeology; topics that are important on a local level and island-wide level.


Profile view of Grotte Marie-Jeanne


History

Evidence of pre-historic and historic human usage of the cave and surrounding landscape makes it an important part of the cultural and ethnic history of the area and of the island.

Grotte Marie-Jeanne and associated caves bear evidence of historical use and also of pre-historic use. Signatures on walls and speleothems are common in the Galerie Superieur and in Grotte Belgique. The dates range from early in the twentieth century to more recent times. Other evidence of historical activity is signage which was used in Marie-Jeanne North to mark routes and chambers. Evidence of pre-human usage is also common throughout the cave system. Archeological material has also been documented in the form of pottery shreds and conch shells, characteristic of Taino (Indian) use in the region.

Biology

Among the biotas observed in Grotte Marie-Jeanne are bats, birds, crickets, pseudo-scorpions, flies, beetles and cockroaches. Small patches of actinomycetes were observed in several alcoves. A more detailed biologic inventory will undoubtedly document more cave life as the habitat does exist for a terrestrial cave ecosystem. Should flowing water be discovered in the lower levels of the cave the potential exists for aquatic life also.

Bones, skulls, and fully articulated skeletons have been documented in the cave system though they all appear to be of recent age. The sources of these remains were animals that wandered into the cave, fell in or got lost and then perished there.