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Author Topic: Caves  (Read 1922 times)

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Offline Will.K

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Caves
« on: January 24, 2021, 01:55:06 PM »
I've been very interested in caves my entire life. I have enjoyed the original exploration and survey/mapping of caves in TN, KY, WV, VA, OH, and IN, and have written a book and several articles on caves in various regions. 

When I'm looking for caves in a new area and I see some loggers I stop to talk, and have found a few interesting things with their help. 

Any questions or comments about caves in the Eastern US are welcomed. I am always interested in mapping caves you may have on your place. This is a hobby, done for free. Also I can help you find documentation of your caves that may already exist. 

Offline Magicman

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Re: Caves
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2021, 05:36:03 PM »
Our "Spelunker" is @Cedarman   8)
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Offline Don P

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Re: Caves
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2021, 05:52:45 PM »
Will, do you know the caves around Speedwell, VA?
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2021, 06:30:02 PM »
Will, do you know the caves around Speedwell, VA?
I have heard of several around Speedwell and have the location data for those and a couple of dozen more in Wythe county. I think there are a little over 100 caves recorded in Wythe, but none are exceptionally long (all under 2000 feet). I have never visited them in person, focusing mostly on projects in Tazewell and Russell counties.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Caves
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2021, 06:30:42 PM »
   I have done many, many insane things in my life and have the scars to prove it but I have this rule about keeping blue sky overhead. Of all the things I have no desire to do it is crawling around in wet tight spaces is right up there near the top of my list. I had buddies who were avid cave divers and would take their tanks off and push them through tight spaces and such. I had 2 occasions in my diving career to have to make emergency ascents, one controlled, one uncontrolled, and that always reinforced my decision to keep an open path overhead.

  There are a number of big caves in the adjacent counties that are popular with tourists and local spelunkers and if are in the area I encourage you visit them and feel free to give me a detailed report when you get back above ground and we can both have a nice day. Stay safe.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2021, 06:38:43 PM »
  I have done many, many insane things in my life and have the scars to prove it but I have this rule about keeping blue sky overhead. Of all the things I have no desire to do it is crawling around in wet tight spaces is right up there near the top of my list. I had buddies who were avid cave divers and would take their tanks off and push them through tight spaces and such. I had 2 occasions in my diving career to have to make emergency ascents, one controlled, one uncontrolled, and that always reinforced my decision to keep an open path overhead.

  There are a number of big caves in the adjacent counties that are popular with tourists and local spelunkers and if are in the area I encourage you visit them and feel free to give me a detailed report when you get back above ground and we can both have a nice day. Stay safe.
Cave diving is dangerous, sump diving is exceptionally dangerous. Caving on the other hand is a very safe activity, as long as a few basic principles are followed.
I've been caving in some miserable little things near Hinton, and have some ongoing mapping projects in some very nice west Mercer County caves. I'll probably be down there next week.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Caves
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2021, 07:42:27 PM »
   My son visited a cave or two as part of his geology courses at Concord and seemed to enjoy it. I know there are the big caves like Organ and such over near Lewisburg but I am unfamiliar with the ones around here but if you are in the area feel free to give us a holler. If I can help from a topside position I will be glad to help.
Howard Green
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Caves
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2021, 05:18:29 AM »
Most caves around here are just rock overhangs. One cave though is man made, a rail road tunnel, it was abandoned and I don't think track was ever laid.
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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Caves
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2021, 07:30:39 AM »
This past month we rented a big track hoe and with the landowner's permission dug a big hole in the side of a hill, installed a 4' culvert and found a couple hundred feet of cave.  The reason for the effort was that a small hole sucked the living daylights out of a smoke bomb.  A couple of breakdown blocks are preventing further passage for the moment. They will be vigorously attacked come spring.  Problem is a low passage with water at about 40 degrees. The air is being sucked in at a tremendous volume keeping everything ice cold.  About a 100 yards away is a big spring that has been dye traced to known passage about 5 miles away.  That cave has 45 miles of surveyed passage.  We hope to put it over the 50 mile mark this year.
If ever in southern Indiana, visit Indiana Caverns which is part of the 45 miles.  A huge amount of pleistocene fossils can be seen along with bear wallows. Beautiful tourist cave.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2021, 08:40:42 AM »
This past month we rented a big track hoe and with the landowner's permission dug a big hole in the side of a hill, installed a 4' culvert and found a couple hundred feet of cave.  The reason for the effort was that a small hole sucked the living daylights out of a smoke bomb.  A couple of breakdown blocks are preventing further passage for the moment. They will be vigorously attacked come spring.  Problem is a low passage with water at about 40 degrees. The air is being sucked in at a tremendous volume keeping everything ice cold.  About a 100 yards away is a big spring that has been dye traced to known passage about 5 miles away.  That cave has 45 miles of surveyed passage.  We hope to put it over the 50 mile mark this year.
If ever in southern Indiana, visit Indiana Caverns which is part of the 45 miles.  A huge amount of pleistocene fossils can be seen along with bear wallows. Beautiful tourist cave.
Hi there!
If you're involved in a lot of IN stuff I'm probably familiar with your name, as I keep up with the news of as many projects as I can. I've mapped a few little caves in SW IN, but nothing significant. Haven't been to a tourist cave in probably 20 years... I have trouble seeing past the railings and boardwalks and lights and tour guide hogwash, and am more interested in exploration/documentation.
But about this vigorous attack! My own efforts in this regard are only mildly dramatic, involving the use of homemade persuading straws. Is your job going to be attacked by hand or otherwise? Sounds like a nice lead!

Offline Cedarman

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Re: Caves
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2021, 03:32:53 PM »
Lots of straws and power drills.  I don't cave anymore, but help out building ladders, scaling poles, and surface work.  Richard "Fig" Newton
Usually go to the NSS conventions.  Been caving in Binkley's since 1967.  
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2021, 04:24:06 PM »
Lots of straws and power drills.  I don't cave anymore, but help out building ladders, scaling poles, and surface work.  Richard "Fig" Newton
Usually go to the NSS conventions.  Been caving in Binkley's since 1967.  
I've definitely read your name. Edited the newsletter review for the NSS News for a short while, but am no longer a member.
Would you build scaling poles to sell? I've been wanting one for years but don't have any metal fabrication tools or skills. My brother and I have hauled extension ladders some pretty impressive distances in VA caves. Lots of 3D caves there and high leads are going to eventually lead to a lot of new passage.

Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Caves
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2021, 06:18:19 PM »
 :P
Out here there are a few cool caves.  Went to the big on on the edge of Shasta Lake just north of Redding a few years ago.  The closest thing I have to me is some old railroad track up in the Sierras.  It starts out with a rock tunnel about 500' long then a short 100' one.  Then concrete snow sheds that go on for miles.  Google Map Donner Lake and these are up above the south west shore.  Great walking or mountain biking.  They removed the track when the realigned that section to go straight through the mountain peak.  Guess it saves on maintenance.
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Offline brianJ

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Re: Caves
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2021, 06:49:59 PM »
Do you know of caves in Madison county NY or where I grew up in Montgomery county NY?     Bedrock would be conducive to caverans.

Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2021, 08:40:32 PM »
Well there are some long ones in Schoarie and Albany counties, but I've never been up that way and don't know how everything is laid out. Schoarie county, if I recall correctly, was the ground zero for a bat epidemic called white nose syndrome back in... maybe 2008 or so, dates escape me. This fungal disease has been an ecological disaster which has wiped out the majority of little brown bats. The wide spread of the fungus has often, and wrongly, been blamed on cavers, and many government agencies continue to enforce policy based on this scientifically unsupported assumption. 

Offline Southside

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Re: Caves
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2021, 10:09:17 PM »
Visited the lava bed tunnels in northern CA with my wife a few years back, so little league in terms of caving, but it was a fun day.  One of the ones we explored had a small pond on the back side of a tight passage that resembled and might have been a boulder.  Had the hand held video camera going as my wife squeezed through the pass and into the room with the pond, we go around the pond, and back out of that room into the area we had first come from, then my wife - who has a Masters Degree - rounds the boulder again and squeezes by into the room with the pond - at which time she excitedly declares that "there is another pond in here!!" Not being one to pass up an opportunity I encourage her to go further in and see what else is there, so she goes around the boulder one more time and finds yet - "another one" - but somehow I was already in the room!!!  About that time I could no longer keep a straight face and had to fess up what she was doing. To this day I still have this on video.  ;D   
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Caves
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2021, 10:29:31 PM »
Ive only been in a few big caves but find them fascinating.  What is extremely interesting is places like Grand Caves in Grottoes, Virginia and Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico continue to find additional connecting caves.  And I mean miles of additional caves!  Im far too claustrophobic to explore caves that require squeezing through narrow spots.  

It is amazing in to me that something like 800 feet below the surface there can be a room of 8 acres and 200 plus tall like in Carlsbad Caverns.  



 
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Offline Don P

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Re: Caves
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2021, 10:50:49 PM »
All that pic is missing is Swamp Thing popping up for a midnite snack.

It's been years ago but at the time when we were out there, there was some speculation that all the caves around the Black Hills were connected.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2021, 01:02:38 AM »
Ive only been in a few big caves but find them fascinating.  What is extremely interesting is places like Grand Caves in Grottoes, Virginia and Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico continue to find additional connecting caves.  And I mean miles of additional caves!  Im far too claustrophobic to explore caves that require squeezing through narrow spots.  

It is amazing in to me that something like 800 feet below the surface there can be a room of 8 acres and 200 plus tall like in Carlsbad Caverns.  
Carlsbad is a true monster cave, about 40 miles long I believe and over 1000' deep*. Another nearby New Mexico cave has it (and most other caves) dwarfed in terms of length and beauty though: Lechuguilla Cave has been mapped to 150 miles. Mammoth is still the longest and will probably stay so. 400 miles and counting. Grand Caverns by comparison is a wee baby, being less than 5 miles long.
*Cave "depth" can be a confusing term. It means the difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points of the cave. This is why the "deepest" caves in the US are Hawaiian lava tubes, which have very little overburden. They run downhill in a more or less straight line (as lava does) and at the downhill end aka deepest point may only be five or twenty feet below the ground.

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Caves
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2021, 08:04:13 AM »
I've been in a few of the caves in the Black Hills of SD.

I would probably go in a cave nowadays, but not in the "tight" spots!

I noticed, back around the time I hit "50" that claustrophobia had a little grip on me!
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