Alaskan Caver

Alaskan Caver

Material Information

Alaskan Caver
Series Title:
Alaskan Caver
Alternate Title:
Alaska Caver
Pease, Chuck
National Speleological Society (Alaskan Cave Areas Conservation Task Force)
National Speleological Society (Glacier Grotto)
University of Alaska Southeast (School of Arts and Sciences)
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Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Contents: From the Editor -- Broken Moose Snow Cave / Mike Van Note -- Leprechaun Cave -- A Visit to Altamira / Mike Van Note -- Rope Cutter / Phreada Phreatic -- Cave? Hunt / Carlene Allred -- Expedition to Wulong Province, China / Johanna Kovarik -- Cave Madness and Karst Landscapes / Louis Hoock, Karen Michael.
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 28, no. 3 (2008)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-00263 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.263 ( USFLDC Handle )
4423 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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Volume 28, Number 3 JUL Y 2008 Volume 28, Number 3 JUL Y 2008 T H E A LAS K A N C A V E R T H E A LAS K A N C A V E R


Back cover: “Crystal Vortex” is a 2007 painting by Carlene Allred, and depicts a cave that had formed under the Garrison Glacier in 1989, near Haines, Alaska. Front cover: Entrance to Broken Moose Snow Cave, ph oto by Mike Van Note. Article and photos by Mike Van Note B R O K E N M O O S E S N O W C A V E (continues on next page) From the Editor -----------------------------------------------------------page 2 Broken Moose Snow Cave, by Mike Van Note --------------------page 2 Leprechaun Cave --------------------------------------------------------page 4 A Visit to Altamira, by Mike V an Note -------------------------------page 5 Rope Cutter, by Phr eada Phreatic ------------------------------------page 8 Cave? Hunt, by Carlene Allred ----------------------------------------page 7 Expedition to Wulong Province, China, by Johanna Kovarik --page 9 Cave Madness And Karst Landscapes, by Louis Hoock and Karen Michael ----------------------------------------------------page 11 The Alaskan Caver Volume 28 No.3 pa ge 2 T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Error: In Last month’s issue I spelled Josiah Huestis’s name wrong throughout the Hawaii 2008 article. Sorry Josiah. Thanks to those who submitted trip reports to share with our readership. Keep them coming! Most Alaskans have traveled along the shores of Kluane Lake during a drive up the Alaskan Highway. Across the lake ar e the mountains known as the Ruby Range. In late June of 2008 I traveled with my wife Sandy Barclay and friends Laurie Dadorian, Mark Battaione, and Kristin Hathorne to Haines Junction in the Y ukon T erritory where we met Y ukoners Ken and Libby Anderson, and Bob and Carolyn Hayes for a 6 day trip in the Rubys. We had been told that it would be an "easy" hike through rolling alpine terrain. We took a turn onto the "Silver City" road a few miles east of the Slims River Bridge. This road is in good shape for the most part though an occasional stream crossing is involved. It was about an hour before we finally came down to the lake at Cultass Bay with a lovely beach and camping spot, however we had another hour of driving up Cultass Creek to Fourth of July Creek where the driving deteriorated (i.e., 4wd high clearance needed). W e crossed Fourth of July Creek and slipped our way up the ruts and mudholes for another 45 minutes before turning up Ruby Creek for another 15 minutes of rough road. The lower part of Ruby Creek shows the effect of active placer mining; however, after shouldering our packs we soon were on a decent pack trail THE ALASKAN CAVER EDITOR: Carlene Allred 2525 4th AveKetchikan, Alaska 99901hm: 907 GLACIER GROTTO OFFICERSPRESIDENT : David Love PO box 240812Douglas, AK 99824-0812 VICE PRESIDENT : Kevin Allred 2525 4th AveKetchikan, Alaska 99901 SECRETARY/TREASURER: Rebecca Valentine11976 N. T ongass Ketchikan, AK 99901 CONSERVA TION: Steve Lewis Box 53T enakee Spr., AK 99841 TONGASS CAVE PROJECT : Steve Lewis Box 53T enakee Spr. AK 99841 Kevin Allred 2525 4th AveKetchikan, AK 99901hm: 907 Pete Smith THE ALASKAN CAVER (ISSN 07350481) is the periodic publication of the Glacier Grotto of the National Speleological Society (NSS). Back issues are available from the Glacier Grotto secretary for $2.50 each. Materials not copyrighted by individuals or by other groups may be used by NSS publications provided credit is given to the author and to The Alaskan Caver Opinions are not necessarily that of The Alaskan Caver, the Glacier Grotto or the NSS. The editor welcomes contributions such as letters, trip reports, cave reports, photos, cartoons, stories, cave maps, etc. Annual dues are $15 per individual and $20 per family or organization. The Alaskan Caver is included in the membership fee. For an additional $8, six The Alaskan Cavers will be sent overseas via airmail. Send dues to the treasurer. F R O M T H E E D I T O R


The Alaskan Caver Volume 28 No. 3 p age 3 (continues on next page) carbon dated to around 9,000 years ago and have been known to contain remains of other animals and plants which existed immediately after the last ice age. Atlatls and other archaeological material have been uncovered from these deposits as well. It appears that early Americans hunted caribou on the snowfields during the summer, storing the meat in this natural deep freeze for later use. As I approached the snowfield I could see that the material was not caribou dung but rather a mix of plant running along the north side of the drainage in beautiful material and soil apparently plucked, slumped, washed, alpine terrain. The weather had been poor for some or blown along the edge of the main snow mass. The days prior and we found ourselves in 5" of snow near cave was higher than I had realized, around 5,000' elev the summit of Ruby P ass. It was bigger than it had looked from below. Such caves We hurried to get below the snowline before are not uncommon in snowfields and avalanche making camp. Here we were visited by the first two of deposits, and many, if not most ar e unsafe to enter in the over 300 caribou that we were to see in this area, which summer when they are often unstable. seems to abound in wildlife. (We also saw wolverine, The entrance was 20' wide by perhaps 10 -12 dall shee p, wolf, wood biso n, and nume rous high, with a good stream flowing out of it. I could not see "shorebirds" nesting in the alpine!) T o the north of this the back of the cave, and as it looked reasonably stable, site was a large gully containing an extensive swath of I stepped under the dripping entrance into the main snowfield. A cave could be seen far up in this field, but it chamber. I hadn't brought a light as I knew we were was late and we were tired. The next day we hiked downhill in a whiteout for the first hour or so before coming to Ruby Lakes where we camped for several days enjoying day hikes and seeing the local wildlife. The weather was unsettled, so on day four I elected to stay in camp and read my book in warm comfort while the others trekked along the chain of lakes. A short while later the wind picked up and it began to seriously rain. Smugly, I r ead onÂ…Later in the afternoon the clouds began to part and the sun came out. This was enough to arouse me from my sloth and I packed a few things for a walk to the aforementioned snowfield a couple miles away. We had noticed a continuous brown streak along the snowfield and thought that it might be an ancient caribou dung deposit. Such deposits were only discovered in the Y ukon and nearby N. British Columbia about a decade ago. The oldest have been BROKEN MOOSE SNOW CA VE, continued from page 2


(continues on page 5) The Alaskan Caver Volume 28 No. 3 p age 4 L E P R E C H A U N C A V E Those of you wh o are NSS been visiting the cave regularly since members hopefully have read the 1973. article in the June 2 008 (P ages 1 0 Cave mapping was begun in through 20) issue by Curvin Metzler September of 2002, and according to This well-written and informative Nicho llÂ’s map t he ca ve wa s surv eyed ar ti cl e de sc ri be s in de ta il th e by Curvin Metzler Jim Nicholls, Sam geographical, geological and historic Dunaway, Ben Sainsbury and Jason setting of Leprechaun Cave, situated in Ballensky. The map shows a c ave the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska. A length of 5,443.2 feet (1659 meters), description of the cave is included, making it one of t he longer ones in the along with a map produced by Jim state. The cave contai ns a wide Nicholls. Numerous black-and-white assortment of featur es including a and co lor ph otos b y Metz ler sh ow the stream, unique speleothems and mineral cav eÂ’s uni que fea tur es. coatings in colors of blue, green, yellow Ac co rd in g t o t he ar ti cl e and orange. Green is especially Leprechaun Cave was discover ed in pre vale nt. Ju ly o f 20 02 b y Cu rv in M et zl er a nd Nicholls insists that the map is not Ja me s L ar ab ee bo th o f An ch or ag e. finished. We look forward to hopefully They were on a photo-hiking trip when se ein g his co mpl et ed ve rs ion in th e they happened upon the ent rance. The Al as ka n Ca ve r so me d ay tw o of th em exp lo red ab ou t a th ou sa nd A copy of this issue of the NSS f e e t i n s i d e a n d d i s c o v e re d t h a t News can be obtained for $1.50 through so me on e el se h ad b ee n in be fo re t he m. the NSS office at 2813 Cave Avenue, La te r th ey l ea rn ed t ha t a l oc al h ad Huntsville, AL 35810-4431. BROKEN MOOSE SNOW CA VE, continued from page 3 The next day we all backpacked to the cave on planning on coming this way the following day, but the our way to a high wide ridge overlooking Ruby Creek. cave appeared to be over 200' long with mostly walking This time I was able to estimate the cave at over 250' passage. I took a few photos and left to explore more of long being up to 30' wide and 1 2' high in one place. the outer portion of the snowfield. Like most such caves in snow or glaciers, I was curious to see where the stream entered Broken Moose Cave is destined to be short lived. I the field. This turned out to be about 150 yards up the would guess perhaps 3 years. The greater par t of the ravine. The entrance at this point was a miserable (and passage formation is likely due to the movement of air certainly unstable looking) belly crawl in the creek. I through the cave once an initial opening is created by passed this opportunity up and followed the creek and the stream melting snow W arm air moving through the snowfield another 150 yards where I encountered the cave readily sublimates the snow in cool weather and carcass of a moose still partially encased in a block of melts it when the temperature is above freezing. This snow which had broken off from the main snowmass. sublimation/melti ng effect created beautiful large Above this point was a small area where the snow was scallops on the ceiling not unlike those seen in some crevassed as might be found in a true glacier I surmised large phreatic solution caves. While snow caves are that the moose had fallen into one of these earlier in the generally quite short I was delighted to "go caving" in year, being exposed when a snow "serac" peeled off the this one, and to know that in the north you can find face. Amazingly enough, no bears had found it yetÂ… caves nearly anywhereÂ….


The Alaska n Caver V olume 28 N o. 3 page 5 Last winter Sandy and I found ourselves at the industrial city (T orrelavega) and freeway we found the end of several weeks of walking across northern Spain town of Altamira in a quiet and bucolic setting amidst with a few days to kill before heading to Paris to fly some serious karstlands. It was obvious that the town is home. We decided to bus along the northern coast of substantially busier during the summer season (think Spain on our way back to France. Up until now we had SkagwayÂ…), but most of the hotels and pensions were done weeks of travel in France and Spain with a couple closed for the winter and those that were open seemed of pages hastily copied from a friend's guidebook to be reasonably priced and happy to have business. As regarding the Camino de Santiago. We finally broke it was only a couple kilometers to the cave, and the down and forked over the euros for a decent map of the weather was pleasant, we opted to walk. The walk took areas we were headed through and noted that the world us around a large swallet draining an extensive area of famous Altamira Cave was right on our route. pastureland along gentle limestone hills sloping down to Like Lascaux (and the more recently discovered the Atlantic Ocean 10-12 kilometers away Chauvet's Cave), the cave at Altamira is famous for its We soon arrived at the museum where we were spectacular prehistoric art. Unfortunately like the other to spend the better part of an entire day exploring its two sites, the cave is no longer open to the general various exhibits. The museum is quite modern and public. Richard Buck of Haines who visited the cave at most exhibits are multilingual including English. Use of Altamira in the early 1980s just prior to its closing touch screen computers encourages hands-on learning described it as "the highlight of my trip"Â…"fantastic". In for all ages. Perhaps one of my favorite activities was order that the original cave paintings might be exploring vicariously the many other cave painting sites preserved for the future, visitors must now instead see of Europe by using maps and photos available on the an artificial cave like that constructed at Lascaux in computers. The museum is certainly about Altamira, France. and the people who made the paintings some 16,000 years ago, but it is also a museum of all Paleolithic peoples in Europe and of human ancestry in general. On exhibit are prehistoric artifacts and art from throughout Europe. The most recent findings of modern paleoanthropologists from Africa are discussed in exhibits that start with prehominids and move through the australopithecines, homo erectus, homo habilis, the Neanderthals, and finally the Magdalenian peoples of the late Stone Age. Images from modern indigenous hunter and gatherers are used to emphasize similarities in tool use, art, adornment etc. Modern people with hair styles, clothing jewelry and tattoos are shown to fit right in. I did find what to me seemed an over emphasis on the "hunting" and less on the gathering part of the "hunting and gathering" economy of indigenous people, Though only 25 kilometers from a major A Visit to Altamira Download from By Mike Van Note (continues on next page)


The Alaskan Caver Volume 28 No. 3 p age 6 something I expect in an older exhibit, but merely scratched into the walls. Since we were not not a modern one. Also the tendency to have "cave deemed to know enough Spanish to make use of a men" utter grunt-like communication rather than guide we walked alone spending a good deal of time "talk" (even a made up language) encourages the admiring the reproductions. idea that early people were "primitive", less intelligent When we were through, we stopped to and capable. One look at the Paleolithic art on purchase a "cave bison" reproduction by a local artist display should put this impression to rest. F or at the small gift shop attached to the museum before example, 20,000 years ago someone made a walking back to our pension in town. beautiful ivory carving of a woman, now on display in the museum. We can only guess why this was done, but I would wager that it was not for "posterity", a chapter in a history book, a "heroic monument" or even the ego which drives much of the modern "art" world. I would guess it was done for beauty's sake, for love, perhaps magic of some kind, yet it has lasted, like the bison paintings on the ceiling of Altamira Cave for millennia, a time which trumps all of "modern, civilized" man and his "empires". No doubt these people had their faults, yet through art, their humanity shines in a way that is both humbling and awe inspiring. Oh but for a time machine! One of the last exhibits is on the discovery of Altamira and the attempts to get the archaeological world to accept that paintings that look like they were made T h e following day we walked out to the yesterday were indeed thousands of years old(!). coast via a local trail network which took us through At last it was time to see the artificial "cave". the karst pastures and woodland of the area. The One enters the "cave" directly from the museum via a wind was up and the Atlantic was pounding the tunnel which enters the "cave" just inside the "natural" limestone cliffs with powerful blows. It was a wild and entrance. This triggers a hologram of individuals chaotic scene! In the distance were the snowy sitting around a fire at the entrance enjoying a "day in limestone peaks of the Picos de Europa National the lifeÂ…". An exhibition of an archaeological dig is to Park. The coast here is very scenic and worth a visit if one side. Beyond is a short loop through a room you have the extra time. In addition, there are covered in bison paintings. As one who has seen a lot numerous other sites of interest in the nearby region of caves, including a few artificial ones, I was deeply including other caves where one can (for the time impressed with the detail in the "cave" structure from being) see original Paleolithic cave art. Unfortunately, the tiniest of solution pit on the wall to the deep we left this intriguing region for the time being as we solution fissure in the ceiling. Bedding planes, ceiling entered the travelers purgatory of bus, train, shuttle pendants etc. are all faithfully reproduced in a most and planeÂ… realistic manner The bison are spectacular and were For good reason Altamira is r ecognized as a World painted faithful to the originals which used ceiling Heritage Site by the United Nations. Plan to put it on pendants and natural forms in the cave walls and your list if you should find yourself in northern Spain. ceiling to give body and a 3-D effect. Deer and other animals are also depicted sometimes in outline or A VISIT TO AL TAM IRA, continued from pg. 5 Download from Th e


The Alaska n Caver V olume 28 N o. 3 page 7 On June 23 Cherry Rice sent me the following hole on one side. We soon discovered that this was a big email: man-made tunnel that bored straight into the mountain. Donning our helmets and headlamps, we were “Have you ever looked in that cave by eager to enter. Carlana Lake? Looks very wet. Wonder The floor was how deep.” covered with I promptly sent back, "What cave by water that we Carlana Lake?" had to wade I was intrigued... It turned out not to through, and it be by that lake at all, but nevertheless, was went in over the close to Ketchikan. I knew the area was not top of my boots. limestone, but I was still curious, for it had A ways in we been a long time since I had done any holecame to a place checking. where there was a small forest of Several days later our tour was rebar sticking canceled for the day (we both work as straight up out musicians on the Alaska Queen of the water and paddlewheeler), so Cherry and I decided to rising, twisted, go hole-checking that morning She picked high over our me up and we drove out the road and heads. Further parked at a certain place that she knew of. on we waded Our path took us along the top of a pipeline until finally the that led off into the rainforest. Wet weather water ended had made the pipe slippery, so we had to be careful. and a dry bedrock floor continued. The arched tunnel, When we arrived at a certain spot along the blasted out of solid rock, is about twenty feet in diameter pipe, Cherry told me to look up. There it was, truly a big, and runs horizontal and straight. black yawning hole in the hillside! The opening was After penetrating several hundred feet into the beautiful and framed in luscious rainforest greenery mountain we found the spacious passage ended After helping suddenly in an abrupt, imposing each other get cement wall. Thick calcite down off the flowstone and stalactites had pipe we made formed along the sides of the our way blockage, sealing it tightly. W e through the wondered if there was water on dense brush the other side of the barrier, over to the 25waiting to rush out upon us were foot diameter the wall to give way. W e did not entrance. There pound upon it to test its integrity. was a hurricane fence in front On our way out we paused to but we were take a few photos with my able to squeeze telephone camera. past through a By Carlene Allred C a v e ? H u n t Che rry Ric e lo oks ou t to ward the en tran ce w hile stan din g o n a dry spo t. P hot o b y C Al lred.


The Alaskan Caver Volume 28 No. 3 p age 8 Dear Phreada Phreatic, I was caving with a group of cavers who kept mucus and eats fish from the inside out after entering insulting me. They were very crude and called me an orifice.) “#$%&%” and “+&*$@^” and also “ All I 3. I'd rather sit down to dinner with a pilobilus than could seem to do is say oh yeah and you are a you. (I rather keep company with the microbe that “ yourself. It seems to be normal for cavers eats dung. This microbe also creates spores that to insult each other. What can I do? explode up to 2 meters from the dung it lives on, just to get eaten and pass through on its way to more dung.) Dear oh yeah, 4. Y eah and I've been with diplomonads friendlier First you need to develop a very thick skin than you. (I've had giardia {beaver fever}and sitting and then you need to educate these backhanded on the toilet was more fun than being in your elbows on the gentle art of insulting. There is nothing company.) finer than a grand insult and a great comeback can be 5. Y ou mutinous bilge rat, I'd rather be keelhauled remembered for years. The cave can even be than keep your scurvy company. (Y ou backstabbing forgotten, but someone will remember what so and so rodent, I'd rather be towed under a boat then to hang said about whatshisface. So, I have a few around someone who causes me to loose my teeth recommendations for your insulting vocabulary. Like and waste away to die.) any good vocabulary word it must be practiced until it 6. Do you have a doctorate in T oro Scatology? is always at the tip of your tongue when that great (Scatology is the study of animal droppingstake it opportunity arises. from there.) There are a number of approaches to insults. As you have already experienced, parts of the body The important thing is to jump right in and or its functions are always popular. P opular, but start trying; after all I won't be there to inspire you. boring, unimaginative and lacking in style. I With practice it does get easier to trade insults all the personally favor large words, since that tends to time. And the best part is that if you get really good, silence people of limited intelligence right away, most of the loser wooses you cave with will either because even a nohoper loser usually knows better dump you for some other fool to cave with or you will than to admit they couldn't understand what you just have their undying respect. said. I have often browsed the dictionary in search of just such words. Some samples of insults follow (and Y ours Phreada, their translations): PS. Remember to tell your sweetie to get close to 1. I can't bear how contumacious you are, you some ascofungi. This is not an insult; it is the alpha pusillanimous poltroon. (Y ou're always causing steroid in truffles that is an aphrodisiac. Studies have problems, you cowardly chicken.) shown that men who have been given this steroid 2. Y ou are slimier than a hyperotreti. (Y ou leave more even think that fully clothed ugly women look REAL slime than a hag fish, which is an underwater deep good. sea snakelike creature that secretes fibrous slimy %@%” %@(%$” R o p e C u t t e r


The Alaskan Caver Volume 28 No. 3 p age 9 The Hong Megui Cave Exploration Society Kidnaps an Alaskan Caver: Expedition to Wulong Province, China 2008 By Johanna Kovarik Ca ver s h ead off on the ba cks of mo torbik es thro ugh the stre ets of Hu olu to loo k for ca ves P hot o b y C har ley Sa vva s. The auth or sk etche s in r iver pass age i n Ga n Do ng. Phot o by Jean Krejc a After 15 hours airborne over the Pacific Ocean Our expedition traveled around the Chinese and one short evening in Shanghai, I, Dan Nolfi, and countryside via foot and motorbike, with local guides 300 meters of rope arrived in Chongqing, China the day from the villages leading us to caves through terraced after Christmas. We crashed in the airport bar to have farm fields. Erin Lynch, Duncan Collis, Rob Garrett and our inaugural bowl of dog and noodles for lunch while Matt Ryan have lived in China long enough to speak waiting to meet fairly decent "putonghua" or the common language up wi th lo ng (Mandarin) of China. This greatly assisted in our ability t i m e H o n g to find caves! In the Huolu area, we mapped approxMeig ui (HMG ) imately 15 caves– not all were virgin passage, but none m e m b e r a n d had previously been mapped. Gan Dong, or "Dry c a v e b u m Cave" was arguably the best new find in the Huolu area. Duncan Collis Large dry passage gave way to a flowing stream and A n o t h e r h a l f approximately two kilometers were mapped through day's worth of large borehole before the cave ended in a sump. travel via bus and taxi brought us to a nice guesthouse in the village of Huolu in Wulong county which would be our home for the next week and a half. Upon arriving we firmly ensconced ourselves in down jackets, gloves, and a few pairs of socks– while pleasant in Chongqing, Huolu was quite a bit cooler. Ther e we met up with the rest of the down-and-fleece-layered group, consisting of expedition leader Erin Lynch, Brits and HMG veterans Matt Ryan and Rob Garrett, Americans Jean Krejca, Charley Savvas, Matt Oliphant, Nancy Pistole, and Andrea Croskrey One invaluable Chinese caver, Rick Y an also joined the group and for a short period we were graced by the presence of the British ConsulWe spent a week and a half in Huolu before General in Chongqing, Nick Whittingham. moving the expedition to the small farm village of Er The Hong Megui Cave Exploration Society has Wang Dong, located to the west of Huolu. To date, done quite a bit of work in Wulong county since its most HMG expeditions to the Houping area have inception in 2001. Within Wulong, the Houping area is concentrated on entrances near Er Wang Dong village, known internationally for its many beautiful tiankeng most notably San Wang Dong (28.8 kilometers of (literally, "sky pit") and makes up a portion of the newly mapped passage) and Er Wang Dong (25 kilometers of inscribed South China Karst UNESCO World Natural mapped passage). Although these two caves represent Heritage Site. Houping consists of over 40 square a small fraction of the total karst area in Houping, they kilometers of karst that has thus far yielded more than are some of the longest mapped caves in China. San 60 kilometers of surveyed passage. Ther e have been 10 Wang is the most westerly and larger of the two caves, HMG expeditions to the Houping area since 2001. The comprised primarily of upper-level extremely large first two were collaborations with the Institute of Karst paleo-phreatic passages, including features such as the Geology, Guilin as part of a project to study the karst 34,052 square meter Dancing Elephant Troupe resources of Wulong county in its successful bid for chamber, and the 10,220 square meter Old Department Chinese National Geological P ark status. Huolu is Store chamber In contrast, Er Wang is relatively located to the southwest of Houping. HMG had not modestly sized with most of the passage comprised of previously explored this part of Wulong county for its mi dle ve l ph re at ic an d lo we rle ve l va do se cave potential. development. (continues on next page)


The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 8 No. 3, page 1 0 A typ e of l oach neve r befo re loca ted in San Wang D ong w as disco vered on th is exp editio n. Ph oto b y Jea n Krej ca and will be mapped in the future. While the connection between San Wang Dong and Er W ang Dong was not made on this expedition, 4,750 meters of new cave passage was mapped in both caves with an exciting lead pushed 2,195 meters by Duncan Collis and his teams. A total of 9,149 meters of cave was mapped during the entire expedition, and several interesting specimens were sent off to the Kunming Institute of Zoology for analysis. A stiff breeze still awaits cavers in massive passageways of Er Wang Dong and San W ang Dong, with the promise of connecting two of the longest caves in China! Thanks go especially to Erin Lynch and Duncan Collis, as well as to Dan Nolfi, Andrea Croskrey Jean Krejca, Charley Savvas, Nancy Pistole, Rick Y an, Matt Ryan, Rob Garrett, Nick Whittingham, and Matt Oliphant for their time in editing this piece, the photos, and the fun! Our special thanks to the National Speleological Society for providing a portion of the funding for this expedition through the International The second half of the expedition involved Exploration Grant, and to the following for their kind multiple attacks at San Wang Dong and Er W ang Dong, support: the Ghar Parau Foundation, the China Caves with the ultimate goal of connecting the two caves. Project, Andy Eavis, the Institute of Karst Geology, There were three main areas of survey in San W ang Guilin, the People's Government of Wulong, the Dong, the "Shattered Stream" survey, Shi W ang Wulong Administration of Scenic and Historic Interest, Tianken g, and the most excitin g lead entitl ed the friendly people of Wulong, and of course the ever"Inconclusive" which had a fairly strong draught. Three hospitable Wang family. For more information about teams went out everyday into the two caves, and the the Hong Meigui Cave Exploration Society, please leads kept multiplying. Shattered stream eventually check out our website connected with another bit of passage in San Wang Dong, and the tiankeng leads kept multiplying beyond the abilities of the expedition to hunt down a resolution for each one. These leads, however, are not heading into blank space on the map-nor are they headed towards passage in Er Wang Dong like the inconclusive lead! Duncan Collis led a team into Inconclusive almost every day, cumulating in an overnight trip bagging 1,741 meters of survey still following a very strong bit of air. The first expedition for 2008 got the year off to a great start for the Hong Meigui Cave Expedition Society. Fifteen new caves were mapped and one promising new cave was located Large leads loom in the bottom of Shi Wang T iankeng. Nancy Oliphant visible in background, right. Photo by Jean Krejca ... CHINA 2008, continued from page 9


The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 8 No. 3 pag e 11 Cave Madness And Karst Landscapes By Louis Hoock and Karen Michael GEOL301 Cave Song By Louis Hoock And if you are, Y ou can sleep all day, Archeology… F ormation… Exploration! No need to go out and play, There is no rain, "The difference between a scientific expedition and an But it drips all day… hey hey adventure, High pH, so good to drink is the amount of information brought back.” Wipe off your moon milk mustache, Bill Stone, Caving in Mexico And beat a cave pearl, Or play a soda straw Caves are cool… hey hey hey hey Y ou could find a beetle, bat, or bear They are the place to go… to escape the world Blindly bumble, beneath the bottom No one can see you, in the cave No need to bundle, for there is no temperature Y ou can't even see horror around you change Spikes from the ceiling! That's good for brewing beer Pudgy sticks in the pits! Watch out for the bear! Guano on the ground! Beneath the world, under the ground There are stalactites and stalagmites, It's so quiet, No rescue, so be careful, I make all the sound! Abstract Introduction (continues on next page) Karst is an important geologic land coverage. It many different formations above and below the supports some of Earth's most rich and dynamic ground. Above ground features include: dolines, ecosystems. Caves often form, although very slowly, in cockpits, springs, sinks, sink ponds, poljes, grikes, karst terrain. They have many ancient features and towers, pinnacles, cones and assorted kluftkarren (Ford spectacular formations. Additionally, cave systems can and Williams 1989, White 1988). Caves and their house a wide range of inhabitants, including: bears, interior elements dominate those features found below bats, insects, bacteria and much, much more. Research the surface and their location is influenced by several is even being conducted in southeast Alaska on a variables. Although many caves form in karst certain cave bacteria that may hold the key to cancer landscapes, there are also some that form through (Baichtal 2007)! Caves can also hold clues to early various other processes in various other mediums. human migration; even occasionally housing preserved The subsurface voids and internal cavities have bones of ancient mega-fauna. This helps scientists in many magical features and spectacular formations determining historic ecosystems or imagining what past created by underground geologic and hydrologic climates may have been like. Since caves are generally pro ces ses The se fea tur es inc lud e: sta lac tit es, very stable systems, they change very little in thousands sta lag mit es, sod a str aws flo wst one s, cur tai ns, of years. It is in this way that caves of the world and the draperies, moon milk, helictites, cave pearls, cave karst where they develop are especially sensitive, and popcorn, rimstone dams, dogtooth spars, and columns must be protected from any extreme human impact. or pillars (Ford and Williams 1989, Waltham 1976). Karst landscapes are shaped by the dissolution Due to their role as huge sediment traps (Ford and of soluble rock including: limestone (CaCO3), dolomite Williams 1989), various other source materials have (Ca,Mg(CO3)2), gypsum (CaSO42H2O), rock salt been found to create incredible decorations seen in (NaCl), sandstone, and marble. Karst can dissolve into caves such as fluvial sediments and bat guano. Some


The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 8 No. 3, page 1 2 CAVE MADNESS AND KARST ... Cont. from page 11 may even consider the weird and astonishing trogs, or relatively poor production as opposed to the lowlands, cave dwelling biota, a fascinating feature in cave both are luxuriant ecosystems with high commercial systems as well. and habitat value (Streveler and Brakel 1993). Many people are enticed by the mystery and variety of caves and karst landscapes. Their exploration is an exiting field involving: satellite Karst landscapes possess a vast range of imaging, dye tracing, hiking, climbing, mapping, and format ions, and are commonly caused by the for the cavers, rappelling into Earth's underworld abyss. dissolution of limestone, gypsum or other soluble rock. Exploration of karst is an important way to further our Dolines or sinkholes are common to see in karst ar eas. understanding of this amazing geologic land type, the Poljes are depressions surrounded by steep limestone diversity of its inhabitants and the existence and uses of mountains. They're usually larger than other sinks and ancient artifacts. Entering the bowels or mouths of contain a flat, sometimes alluviated bottom (Ford and Earth is a task, which is extraordinarily dangerous to the Williams 1989, White 1988). Another interesting effect adventurer and possibly destructive to the fragile of dissolvable bedrock is the formation of pinnacle, environment. Therefore, an immense amount of safety, tower or cone karst. All three form by differences in rock thought, and consideration must be done before solubility relative to other rocks in the vicinity but are embarking on any cave exploration. divided by the shape of the resulting relief (Gunn 2004, Exploration can provide an inventory of White 1988). One of the most interesting formations in locations and features of karst and caves. This helps karst topography lay below ground and provide significantly in managing the resources provided by openings to Earth's strange and mysterious underworld. them. Effective protection of cave systems is important The locations of these karst features are to preserve their extraordinary formation, biologic influenced by multiple variables. Areas with greater diversity, hydrologic and archeological importance as dissolution rates will generally be sites of cave well as the lives of inexperienced cave explorers development. Muskegs can influence the rate of rock (Streveler and Brakel 1993). dissolution by providing acidic percolation (Allred 2004, Streveler and Brakel 1993). Organic soils have also been found to increase dissolution rates due to the Karst systems are important as productive formation of carbonic acid in soil organic matter (Allred ecosystems. They can be a geologic medium for 2004). T ectonics plays a role in the location of caves too. beneficial hydrologic functions. Karst landforms Areas with faults provide fractures for water to flow composed of calcite or dolomite generally increase through more easily causing a direct route for cave acidic precipitation (generally pH of 5.6) to an average development. O nce developed, the uplift by relief of pH range of 6.5 to 8.9 (Ford and Williams 1989). As massive pressure exerted by ice, known as isostatic water moves through the karst landscape, dissolution of rebound, allows the water table to drop, expanding the the minerals also increase nutrient content, providing cave. Isostatic rebound can also influence size and rich water for organisms that depend on it (White 1988). locations of caves not of dissolution origin, which are In a presentation given by Jim Baichtal (2007), a many. southeast Alaskan geologist, he reported plants growing The development of caves can occur in multiple on karst were found to be larger and healthier due to the ways besides that of dissolution. Caves that form within increased nutrient content of the water He went on to glaciers are often composed entirely of ice. When water say that animals generally prefer lowland karst plants to flushes down a moulin or sink point, into channelized any other food available. Additionally, the diversity of flow, the water weathers new passages, and a glacier such plants is found to be very high, attracting a great cave is born (Gunn 2004). They often form along ice diversity amongst the many herbivores, carnivores, crevices or where the ice meets bedrock, but often times bacteria, and insects that utilize this food source. For their existence is brief. Another type of cave formed by those organisms, living within the mineral rich waters, weathering processes is termed littoral caves, better most are found to be robust, and karst-fed waters known as sea caves. Pure force for extended periods of support some of the most prolific salmon fisheries in the time on rocks with weaknesses such as a: fault, dyke, world. Timber growth is also productive, markedly in variable hardness layer or bedding-plane parting the lowland areas, resulting in large, old-growth forests. (Gunn 2004), can produce caves in coastal areas by Although alpine and sub-alpine carbonate areas exhibit wave action. Once fractures are made within sea cliffs, (continues on next page) Productivity Formation


The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 8 No. 3 pag e 13 CAVE MADNESS AND KARST ... Cont. from page 12 (continues on next page) the mechanical erosion force increases due to the due to the tiny tube in which the depositional water compression of the air within the cavity and by the same flows, they are shaped by capillary action moving the force being applied to a smaller area (Gunn 2004). water by the "whims of hydraulics" (Waltham 1976); Some of the largest caves in existence are ones formed further influenced by wind patterns and ear th tremors. from molten rock. In Hawaii, the Kazumura Cave is Cave popcorn and pearls are cool features that form in 32km from end to end, ranges to 1100m vertically and saturated pools of water on cave floors. The popcorn is composed entirely of lava (Gunn 2004)! The process precipitates out along the edges, and grows like a fungus by which volcanic caves, or commonly called lava on anything available. Some rooms within the tubes, form is very interesting. T ypically, low viscosity Carlsbad Caverns are covered entirely with this pahoehoe basalt begins to and eventually completely decoration (Waltham 1976). Cave pearls form by a cools to form a ceiling on a lava conduit, allowing more granule of sand or small rock becoming the nuclei for lava to continue flowing through the bottom portion of mineral deposition. As the nucleus circles in the pool, the channel. The resulting caves usually include calcite will form evenly around it until buoyancy is lost evidence of the molten liquid movement by striations and the pearl falls to the bottom of the pond. They are on their sides. often perfectly spherical (Ford and Williams 1989) due to incessant drips constantly moving them (Waltham 1976). It is noted that cave pearls aren't of value outside Most of the spectacular decorations within the cave environment. They will dry out and crumble dissolution caves are formed from the precipitation of into a pile of calcite dust. calcite in solution as it flows on, through, or around the perimeter of the cave. Aragonite and gypsum are the second and third most common mineral precipitate in Cave biology, also known as biospeleology, is cave decorations, respectively, and all deposits are the study of "troglos"; cave dwelling organisms, that is termed speleothems (F ord and Williams 1989). The (Gunn 2004). There are three main types of trogs: most notorious formations, stalactites, actually start out troglobites, troglophiles, and trogloxenes. T axonomy as thin little tubes termed soda straws. As drips fall off identifies the aquatic variations of each with the prefix the ceiling they leave behind minerals to produce the "stygo"; their classification is generally similar (Gunn sides of the tube allowing water to continue to flow 2004). Troglobites are organisms that remain in the through (Ford and Williams 1989). The drips can then cave their entire lives; with the absence of light they are begin to develop the stalactite's column-building generally blind and acquire no pigmentation, leaving partner, the stalagmite. Depending on the slope they them pure white in color (Waltham 1976). This amazing may run off instead, forming general floor or wall type of organism, once introduced to a cave, never coverings called flowstone (F ord and Williams 1989). It leaves. It exists only in that particular cave, and though is not entirely uncommon to see a soda straw on the there are many b iologically similar troglobites between ceiling above a huge stalagmite formation beneath it, caves, they are all diverse. Each troglobite evolves like in England's Easegill Caverns (Waltham 1976). differently to their unique surroundings, developing Often times the soda straw flow will become partially or their own distinctive adaptations (Gunn 2004, Streveler completely blocked with organic material. This then and Brakel 1993). An advanced cave salamander, causes the water to drip along the sides of the straw, Proteus, sits atop the cave food chain and has evolved forming the larger, more dominant ceiling feature we all to give birth to live young when the temperature is know and love. The shape of either of these dripstones above 15 degrees Celsius and lay eggs when it's colder is directly related to the amount of mineral in solution. (Waltham 1976). Once equilibrium is met the precipitation ceases The second type of trog is the troglophiles. (Waltham 1976). These organisms also live in complete darkness, but Helictites are another interesting feature in the may exist both in and out of the cave. This class of cave. Explorers and researchers in the past have beings includes fungi and burrowing insects called thought that this gravity-defying, organically shaped hypogeanic organisms, or soil dwellers. It's been found formation was an odd cave plant. It was eventually that much like the distinct adaptations of the troglobites, determined to be just another awesome speleothem. troglophilic anthropods have longer antennae and legs Even today, the formation process associated with as opposed to their above ground counterparts (Gunn helictites baffles scientists. It is now hypothesized that 2004). It's also been discovered that the legs of many Featur es Biology


CAVE MADNESS AND KARST ... Cont. from page 13 (continues on next page) troglophiles are less waxy than other epigean creatures radio carbon dating to be done on select cave features to facilitate the removal of water since caves are to provide an estimate of a cave's age. Understanding typically of high humidity (Gunn 2004). the rates of cave for mation helps scientis ts to Finally trogloxenes are organisms that enter understand geology and climatology of the area. For and exit the cave, primarily using it for shelter In example, Dan Monteith discovered preserved brown southeast Alaska, Jim Baichtal comments that some bear remains in a cave on Prince of W ales Island. After solution caves and littoral caves have been used as dens radio carbon dating the bones to over 10,000 years old, for both wolves and river otters (Streveler and Brakel scientists were able to conclude that the ecosystem was 1993). Additionally, at least one cave on Admiralty much more diverse and productive than previously Island is used for a resting spot by hibernating bears thought; since it was apparently able to support such (Streveler and Brakel 1993). One biologically mega-fauna. important trogloxene, in the provision of biogenic substances or guano, is the bat. Many of the before mentioned trogs depend on mineralized bat guano for Cave exploration is a methodical process food and nutrient s (Walt ham 1976). Without this vital requiring technique, gear, skill, and experience. resource, the independent cave food chain would not Psychologically cavers must be calm, cool, and be able to develop. In a video interview about the collected. They must keep in mind the extreme potential integral cave creature, John O.Whitaker PhD, attests for serious injury, but not let it get to them. Because that the bat is the only mammal that can fly. He goes on cave exploration is associated with many dangers, a to say that most hibernating creatures wake up very large safety net must be constructed. It is absolutely slowly, but bats wake up easily and quickly It has been imperative that several members of the group be theorized that the reason they hang upside down is so medically trained with a bare minimum of EMT Level 1 that they may quickly drop if awakened, almost or Wilderness F irst Responder Ideally, everyone instantly, giving them a high enough speed to elude any should possess some level of emergency medical predator They too have adapted to cave conditions training. Simply the ability of a cave team to function and use sonar or echo location to navigate and find their well as a group may mean life or death for one or all the own food. Bats are generally termed habitual members trogloxenes, whereas bears and even humans are called In addition to adequate safety response and accidental trogloxenes. group confidence, traveling underground often requires many advanced rope skills. Every caving expedition should have at least one rope expert. However, that is Humans have been stumbling about caves not enough. All members must know the fundamental since the first half of the 19th century. It was the techniques, like: rappelling and ascending a rope, systematic excavation of caves that dawned the field of building anchors, and tying of the basic set of climbers' archeology and developed the notion of "human knots. These knots include the figure eight, clove hitch, antiquity" (Gunn 2004). Caves are ideal environments prussic, water knot, tension releasing combination knot for preservation. They typically have minimal internal (TRD), double butter fly and double fisherm an. temperature changes and artifacts become buried by Everyone in the caving party should be proficient with debris, hidden from all disturbances, even light, until a pulley systems and understand when and why to build spelunker or archeologist befalls it (Waltham 1976). each kind. The discovery of such artifacts has provided clues to The gear required for caving strictly depends on early human characteristics and activities. In the Dead the cave and the group. In general, caving is a gear Sea area of Judea, people of the 3rd centu intensive activity. For individual spelunkers, everyone must have their own: harness, belay device or rappel device, lights, carabineers, and helmet. Group gear includes: a substantial amount of rope, anchor material, pulleys and tubular webbing, Plus, depending on the mission of the expedition various scientific devices, Besides human history, caves can bring insight notebooks or cameras. Any caving group must also into the history of climate and biology. Since many bring the required gear to perform a self-rescue. caves form at different time scales, it is common for Mos t imp ort ant ly, in the wor ld of the ry considered documents to be sacred treasures and thus hid them in wilderness caves of Khirbet Qumran. Over a thousand years later, in 1947, they wer e found perfectly preserved, and called the dead Sea Scrolls (Waltham 1976). The Alask an C aver V olum e 28 No 3 pa ge 1 4 Archeology Exploration


CAVE MADNESS AND KARST ... Cont. from page 14 underground, it is you, and you alone, as your own rescue party. Groups like Juneau Mountain Rescue, In conclusion, continued cave conservation is SEADOGS and local fire fighters exist, but it is unlikely important to the preservation of these spectacular karst that they will have the adequate training, maps, or features. Furthering our understanding of the equipment to perform any rescue in a timely fashion. productive qualities and resulting flora and fauna can Plus, the response could be days. If a rescue team is in help provide insight to important nutrient cycling and the cave searching for you, the individual rescuer has vegetation succession. Many types of caves and already prioritized their life as number one; their team features exist making them a unique addition to our members' lives as number two, and your life as the least environment and an enticing area to explore, carefully important, no matter who you are. That is in their The biology that depend on them can prove beneficial training! For this reason, it is r eiterated, team safety in to our own well being, like the possible cancer curing the caves is critical to survival. Befor e beginning the bacteria, so every effort should be put forth in their expedition, all members must be briefed on emergency protection. response, establish an order of command and ask all questions they may have. This all sounds deadly serious, and it is, but that is not why cavers cave. Really, they cave for fun and knowledge... Increased knowledge of karst and their caves results in greater management or conservation of the area. Map making and careful inventory of cave locations becomes an important tool in avoiding irreversible damage (Streveler and Brakel 1993). Delicate cave features or biology dwelling within the cave should be prevented from contact with humans. If already exposed, efforts should be made to decrease negative impacts and focus on protecting those areas still pristine. All scientists and explorers should be aware of techniques to reduce the human ecological footprint (like developing a T yrolean traverse). This is when a horizontal rope system is set so that no foot actually touches the cave at all. Some tourist caves in Europe have set up a permanent T yrolean traverse to continue the features from increased damage. Due to the increased productivity of karst landscapes, many areas are already in peril or are targeted for future logging. Timbering and the resulting road inputs have proven detrimental to karst ecosystems (Streveler and Brakel 1993). It is in this way that the T ongass National Forest in southeast Alaska adopted the Federal Cave Protection Act of 1988. As written in the Forest Service Manual, implemented policy is to "manage caves as a nonrenewable resource to maintain their geological, scenic, educational, cultural, biological, hydrological, palentological and recreational values" (Streveler and Brakel 1993). Many are still fighting for increased protection of the land, since logging projects are still approved in many karst areas The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 8 No. 3 pag e 15 Allred, K. (2004). Some carbonate erosion rates of southeast Alaska. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, vol. 6, 3, 89-97. Baichtal, J. PresentationFord, D. & Williams, P (1989). Karst geomorphology and hydrology. Cambridge, G.B.: University Pr ess. Conservation Council. Gustavus, AK: Icy Strait Envrionmental Services. Waltham, A.C. (1976). The world of caves. New Y ork: G.P Putnam's Sons. Whitaker, John O (2007): interview ( White, W .B. (1988). Geomorphology and hydrology of karst terrains. New Y ork: Oxford University Press. Thomas M. Iliffe (2007). ( x2.html) Biospeleology, The Biology of Caves, Karst, and Groundwater, (2007) (http://www sponsored_sites/biospeleology/) Dr. Jayant Biswas, (2007): (www Conservation Conclusion References


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Contents: From the
Editor --
Broken Moose Snow Cave / Mike Van Note --
Leprechaun Cave --
A Visit to Altamira / Mike Van Note --
Rope Cutter / Phreada Phreatic --
Cave? Hunt / Carlene Allred --
Expedition to Wulong Province, China / Johanna Kovarik --
Cave Madness and Karst Landscapes / Louis Hoock, Karen


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