Fears and Phobias: Part I

Claustrophobic much?

How about some cave-diving?  Jacob’s Well, located north-west of Wimberley, TX, is an outlet for a Karst spring.  This type of spring usually marks the end of a cave system running beneath the ground.  For over 150 years, this one has drawn much interest.

It is often possible to enter the caves at a karst spring and explore them. Many people have done this at Jacob’s Well.  Open-water divers have attempted to explore this body of water, sometimes with deadly results.  Between 1964 and 1984, eight divers lost their lives while exploring Jacobs Well.  This fact has undoubtedly fueled its frightening and creepy reputation.

While only 12 feet in diameter, Jacob’s Well reaches a depth of 30 feet before coming to a series of chambers that are connected by narrow passageways.  At least one of the passageways is so narrow that divers have reportedly had to remove their tanks to get through.   These underwater chambers continue down to an average depth of 120 feet.

Jacob’s Well is an example of where a river-cave reaches the earth’s surface, bringing with it an almost constant flow of water. Historically, similar bodies of water have been referred to as ‘pots’ and ‘cauldrons’ due to the bubbling that is seen on the surface of the water.

In recent times the flow of water has ceased, notably in 2000,  2008 and 2011. Conversely, in the early 20th century there were many reports of water shooting up out of Jacob’s Well several feet into the air due to the high pressure at which the underground water was flowing.

The Jacobs Well Exploration Project (JWEP) consists of a group of professional cave divers that actively explore the underwater spring and its caves to determine the source of the water.  Two major channels (or conduits)have been discovered, one that measures almost a mile, 4,500 feet, from the surface.  A secondary water passage measures approximately 1,000 feet from the main conduit.  These discoveries are conducted by a group of experienced cave divers in the safest manner possible.  Cave diving is dangerous, even for the most experienced divers.  Highly experienced cave divers have lost their lives while conducting explorations.

Jacob’s Well frequents many lists of the scariest, creepiest, and unusual places on earth.

Due to its rich and interesting history (first written about by Jacob De Cordova in the 1850s), the crucial role it plays in the support of life in the area and the fact that it is truly a dangerous place for ANYONE to explore, Jacob’s Well is truly fascinating.


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