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Sistema Silvana – A new lava tube system in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

As international teams of cavers enter the 10th year of documenting lava tubes and pit crater features in the Galapagos Islands, significant new discoveries are still being made. In August 2019, locals guided a small team to a new tube system that has now been surveyed over 4 km. Survey totals from the March 2020 expedition have now revealed that Sistema Silvana is now the longest known lava tube in South America.

Real Time Carbon Dioxide Monitoring System at Edgewood Caverns, NM

Edgewood Caverns is a densely jointed cave in Santa Fe County that has a single 38 m deep entrance shaft, drilled and cased with a 0.5 m diameter steel pipe. The cave is in Pennsylvanian limestone and was phreatic in development with solution-enlarged joints. It is a substantial cave, having been mapped ~8.3 km (5.2 mi) as of 2019, and has barometric-driven winds at the entrance cap. A detailed talk on the history of the cave was given in the Conservation session at the 2018 NSS Convention.

Solving the Enigma of Engel Hill Inside Fort Stanton Cave, NM

Starting in 1962 a dig in an airy dead-end passage continued on and off for 7 years, eventually opening Babb’s Burrow into the Lincoln Caverns passage of Fort Stanton Cave. This was the most remote place in the cave. At the far end of a large decorated trunk, a massive breakdown collapse called Engel Hill terminated the trend while air continued. A dig in the 1970s continued upward using screwed-together steel pipes to probe overhead breakdown, but dire conditions killed enthusiasm. It wasn’t until Snowy River (SR) was discovered in 2001 that the true nature of Fort Stanton Cave began to be realized in the south.

Current Best Practices: Intro to Speleothem Repair

This is the pilot for a series of online modules that explore current best practices in cave conservation and restoration. Expanding from the philosophies and techniques described in our peer-reviewed volume, Cave Conservation and Restoration (Hildreth-Werker and Werker, NSS 2006),each module teaches minimum-impact methods focused on specific tasks to mitigate anthropogenic impacts in caves.

Exploration & Survey of Caves of the Tiger Cave System (Vietnam)

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng (PNKB) is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the North Central Coast region of Vietnam, situated roughly halfway between the cities of Hanoi and Da Nang. The park was created to protect a vast area of karst and the accompanying forest ecosystem in the north central coast of Vietnam. PNKB is home to several caves of world renown, including most notably, the Hang Sơn Đoòng Cave System, which contains the largest known cave passage by volume.

Caving and Caver Communities on a Hot Planet

Pandemics may be very disruptive to society and have a considerable impact on most of its institutions. While we focus most of our attention on the immediate health and economic concerns of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we might consider what our response should be in the face of other crises. That is, global warming is already making our situation more precarious on Earth…

Post Kirkwood in Austin and San Antonio

The Kirkwood Community in Texas fell apart just a few years before I started caving. Following in the tradition of Kirkwood cavers looking for affordable group living with likeminded cavers, the tradition continued not with a block of houses on a street but in the individual houses of cavers…

More Important Than Ever: Conservation Education During COVID-19

This presentation shows how conservation education can be integrated with traditional school subjects to create a program that meets the needs of teachers and students, with the added benefit of inspiring students to care about cave conservation. Additionally, this presentation features video footage of in-person programs conducted just prior to the pandemic, providing an inside view of the conservation education work done by CaveSim.

Where the Dangers Are Double

A special introduction to the gypsum karst landscapes of the Black Hills of South Dakota. This presentation highlights a recent set of trips into a couple gypsum sinkholes that were discovered when a neighborhood in Black Hawk, SD, started to fall into some rapidly forming karstic collapses. The presentation details the work of the Paha Sapa Grotto to explore and then map the sinkholes and caverns in this neighborhood.

Into the Ice: Exploration and Science on the Greenland Ice Sheet

Most of the meltwater on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet flows in rivers and streams that eventually end in moulins, which are giant holes in the ice that carry the water to the bottom of the glacier. Once meltwater is beneath the ice it can lubricate the bottom of the ice sheet, lift up the ice, and cause the ice to move faster.

End of The Line–Roppel Cave–Logsdon River

Project cavers know, after years of mapping any cave system, it develops a life and mind of its own. A small group called Karst Terrain Explorations (KTE) has spent decades pushing the Roppel Cave–Logsdon River dive lead, following up on the ground work provided by our predecessors—our goal being to gather volumes of data and then systematically pass it forward to the next group involved.

More Rivers, Big Rooms and Grand Stal: The Fifth Expedition to Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, Republic of the Philippines

The fifth expedition to Sultan Kudarat, the Philippines, was another fun and productive trip to the island nation. More than 8 kilometers of new cave passages were mapped including several large rooms and passages. Most of the survey was in well-decorated river caves. The team has completed many maps of caves of the area, is working on a book project for the caves of the region, and looks forward to a sixth expedition in the future to return to the many leads.

The Dome 12 Dig Project

Dome 12 is a sinkhole on the Northeastern Cave Conservancy’s Merlins Cave Preserve and has been a Spring and Fall dig since 2016. Working after a sinkhole washout, the Berkshire Area Diggers Association has been excavating rocks and gravel in search of a way into presumed passage downstream of the main Merlins Cave, which has a few thousand feet of nice marble passages. With some stabilizing, creative engineering, and persistence, the crew got into some passage in Dome 12 at the end of 2019, which has ongoing digs in two downstream directions.

A Sea Caving Voyage around Santa Cruz Island, California, October 2019

In 1988 I published Sea Caves of Santa Cruz Island, with descriptions of 113 caves of which over 100 had been mapped by members of the California Sea Cave Survey. They were of impressive length and the combined surveys totaled over 5 miles of cave! Some were never completed due to their orientation towards the most prevailing swell conditions and some we had simply missed .

Scapegoat Cave System 2019

In the early 1970s, Caves of Montana author Newell Campbell began exploration of the caves of Green Fork and the 6 square mile alpine karst plateau. Forty-eight years later, exploration is ongoing and new discoveries are made on every trip.