The Maverick Grotto

The Maverick Grotto

Celebrating 20 years as a Texas caving organization in 2006!  The Maverick Grotto is the local caving club of Fort Worth and Tarrant County Texas. We are dedicated to promoting safe, fun, and environmentally conscious caving.  Our grotto is an internal organization of the National Speleological Society.

The Maverick Grotto is inactive effective November 2009!

Phantom Springs Cave, Texas

All photos are © The Maverick Grotto and the respective photographer
All Rights reserved!

Photos from Phantom Springs Cave Courtesy of Bill Tucker. Bill, his wife Francie, son Todd,  and other divers have been exploring this cave for years. Located in West Texas, Phantom Springs Cave is currently listed at 2529 meters (8297 feet) long.  Almost all of the explored cave is underwater without air space.

Click on thumbnail below for a larger Picture

Old photo at cave entrance, taken before irrigation canals were built… most likely before about 1940

What was left of Phantom Lake in 1997.  The cave entrance is in the cliff face behind walkway.  Walkway was built as observation area for Federally listed endangered Commanche Springs Pupfish, and the Pecos Gambusia.

Divers Todd and Bill Tucker looking for caves in west Texas.

The entrance was gated in about 1960.  Lori Bell and Bruce Tipps prepare for a survey dive.

Todd Tucker just inside the cave entrance.  

Passages cross, making a 4-way intersection about 120’ into the cave.  

Francie Tucker in a window between two parallel passages in downstream Phantom  

Bill Tucker in the upper part of a 70’ tall room about 900’ upstream  

Chert formations occur in many places upstream  

Bill inspects roots which extend though 25’ of rock. The Phantom Cave Isopod (Lirceolus cocytus)lives in these roots.

Parallel passages merge into one downstream conduit.  Divers Bruce Tipps and Lori Bell.  

This new species of isopod was discovered in 1995 living underwater in Phantom Cave.  The Lirceolus cocytus grows to about 4mm in length, and is found on roots extending into the water.  A small snail, about 0.5 mm in diameter, can be seen on the rock below the isopod.  It is likely a new genus as well as species.

Todd Tucker swims upstream with collecting equipment.  Cave fauna specimens are forwarded to the Texas Memorial Museum for study.  Several unique species are found in Phantom.  

Large blocks of breakdown have tumbled from the ceiling in several parts of the cave

Campsite beside Phantom Lake, adjacent to the cave entrance. 

This page last updated September 15, 2012