Note to WWW Edition - This has not been hyperlinked yet. Please be patient. I'm getting this up for a user who needs it now! -rs
Published by the NSS Section on Cave Conservation and Management
The Cave Conservationist is the official publication of the Conservation and Management Section of the National Speleological Society. Distribution is free to members of the Section. Section membership costs $5 annually and should be mailed to the Secretary. (A membership form for your convenience is included on page 25.) Additional complimentary copies are distributed on a temporary basis at the discretion of the Section to NSS members, internal organizations, cave owners, and others involved in cave conservation projects. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the either the Section or the NSS and should be attributed to the author or, in the case of uncredited articles, to the Editor.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Evelyn Bradshaw, 10826 Leavells Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22407-1261.
SUBMISSIONS: Articles and other Cave Conservationist correspondence should be sent to the Editor. Submissions on computer disks should be made with 3.5" or 5.25" IBM compatible diskettes, . Microsoft Word, Word Perfect 5.0, or Wordstar 3.3 compatibility, or straight ASCII format is preferred. Do not format materials for multiple columns! Diskettes will not be returned unless requested. Arrangements may be made for transmission via modem; call or write the publisher for details. Or send an E-Mail message, or your article, to the Publisher via Compuserve to 71267,1065 or Prodigy to BBTH90A. Note: if you send diskettes or articles to the Publisher, be sure to notify the Editor that you have done so, and send him a hard copy.
Copyright 1995 NSS Conservation and Management Section, except as noted. Internal organizations of the National Speleological Society may reprint any item first appearing in the Cave Conservationist so long as proper credit is given and a copy of the newsletter containing the material is mailed to the Editor. Other organizations should contact the Editor.
Printed by members of the D.C. Grotto and the Potomac Speleological Society.
Cover illustration is by Linda Heslop.
NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY Conservation & Management Section Officers Chairman and Publisher: Rob Stitt 1417 9th Ave. West Seattle, WA 98119 (206) 283-2283 Editor and Vice-Chairman: Jay R. Jorden, 1518 Devon Circle Dallas, TX 78217-1205 Secretary-Treasurer: Evelyn Bradshaw, 10826 Leavells Road Fredericksburg, VA 22407-1261 (703)898-9288 Directors at Large: Mel Park George N. Huppert
By this time you have probably already read it in the NSS News-the Lechuguilla Cave Protection Act passed Congress and has been signed by the President.
The Dark Canyon Environmental Statement has also been approved, and is being implemented.
These two events are important milestones in American Cave Conservation, for even without the implementation of the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act, and certainly because of inputs from over 500 cavers, Lechuguilla Cave has been saved-for now at least. We will probably have to fight this battle over again sometime in the future, but at least we have set an important precedent, and have shown that involved cavers can make a difference.
It is extremely likely that without the Caver's Mailing List on the Internet, this would never have happened. The 538 inputs that were received on the EIS were unprecedented, but happened because lots of cavers got the message about what was going on in a timely fashion, and responded.
The very nature of the Internet-almost instantaneous distribution of information-makes it more and more important than the conventional caving media in spreading the word and making sure things happen. This periodical, for example, typically is delayed several months from the time the news is current. This is due to a variety of problems: the Editor has to find the information; he then has to find time to type it into the computer and edit it. He then forwards it on floppy disk to the publisher, who typically takes several weeks to get it formatted and ready to go to the printer [this issue, for example, was delayed because I didn't have a cover graphic at hand.]; there is then a delay of a few days while the camera ready copy goes to Evelyn Bradshaw, who then forwards it on to the Potomac Speleological Society members who actually print it; then it is returned to her for mailing; and finally, since we use a bulk rate, it can take several weeks to actually get to you.
Contrast that to the Internet: someone finds out about the information, and types or scans it into their computer, then sends it via E-mail to the facilitator of the Caver's Mailing List. Every few days he compiles all new material into a single file and sends it to everyone on the list. They receive it within a few hours (if they happen to log onto their computer) and have it available to read. An important message could be distributed to the entire mailing list within a few minutes, or at most hours.
The catch, of course, is that we don't all have access to a computer that's on the Internet. I myself, for example, am not directly on the Internet and do not subscribe to the Caver's Mailing List. I have avoided this step because I am afraid that I might be inundated with information that I can't deal with. I get enough now as it is, with several newsletters, NSS publications, and individual correspondence, not to mention all that non-caving-related junk mail that I get, and the computer magazines that I used to read (I just dropped my subscriptions to several, and so far I haven't really missed them).
Another problem is that most of us are used to reading things on paper, and getting used to having on the screen will take a little time. Of course we can always print the stuff out, but this wastes paper and time.
In a few years we will probably all be connected, and used to the electronic media. In the meantime, we are going to need paper publications like the Cave Conservationist to keep us all informed. Even though we are behind the times, and slow, we still have a place.
However, we are exploring the possibility of making the Cave Conservationist available on the Internet. It could be uploaded and distributed to members who have Internet addresses much faster than the conventional methods. In fact, some of you could have this tonight, as I am typing this, instead of having to wait until I find a cover graphic, diddle around with the layout for a few evenings, and finally get it sent off to Evelyn.
Instead, you'll probably get this issue about the time you are leaving for Convention, in mid-June. Fortunately this issue doesn't have any hot, timely news in it (after all, your editor is working to bring you the Convention this year, not just going himself).
Come to the Annual meeting at Convention (Wednesday noon lunch) and let's discuss this further.
September 30, 1988
The National Speleological Society (NSS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Service) believe that increased cooperation will promote better management of nonrenewable cave resources and that our joint efforts will have long term benefits for the American public. The mechanism for achieving improvements in management and public service will be specific agreements between the National Forests and local chapters of the NSS (Grottos). This national agreement establishes broad principals to assist the local units of the Service in developing agreements and more importantly, to recognize that such local cooperation represents one of the best ways the Service has for carrying out their mission of "Caring for the Land and Serving People".
The Authorities for entering into this Agreement by the Service are found in the Volunteers in the National Forest Act (16 USC 558). The NSS Board of Governors is empowered by the Society's bylaws to enter into such agreements.
/s/ President, NSS
/s/ Associate Chief, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
The National Caves Association, founded in 1965, is a nonprofit organization which sets and maintains standards for show caves throughout the United States. To be a member of the NCA a cave must be a true natural attraction presented to the public with good taste, courtesy and hospitality. All members of the association promote cave conservation and preservation.
The association can be contacted at:
Travelers should contact the individual caves or caverns and request their free folders, travel directions and informational materials.
DeSOTO CAVERNSRt. 1, Box 265 Childersburg, Alabama 35044 (205) 3787252
RICKWOOD CAVERNS STATE PARKRt. 3, Box 357 Warrior, Alabama 35989 (205) 6359692
SEQUOYAH CAVERNSRt. 1, Box 302 Valley Head, Alabama 35989 (205) 6356423
BLANCHARD SPRINGS CAVERNSU.S. Forest Service P.O. Box 1279 Mountain View, Arkansas 72560 (501) 7572211
COSMIC CAVERNSRt. 4, Box 168 Berryville, Arkansas 72616 (501) 7492298
WAR EAGLE CAVERNRt. 5, Box 748 Rogers, Arkansas 72756 (501) 7892909
BOYDEN CAVERNBox 756 Kings Canyon Nat'l Park, California 93633 (209) 7362708
CALIFORNIA CAVERNS9600 Cave City Road Mountain Ranch, California 95246 (209) 7362708
LAKE SHASTA CAVERNSP.O. Box 801 O'Brien, California 96070 (916) 2382341
MOANING CAVERNP.O. Box 78 Vallecito, California 95251 (209) 7362708
CAVE OF THE WINDSP.O. Box 826 Manitou Springs, Colorado 80829 (719) 6855444
BLUESPRING CAVERNSRR 11, Box 479 Bedford, Indiana 47421 (812) 2799471
MARENGO CAVE PARKBox 217 Marengo, Indiana 47140 (812) 3652705
SQUIRE BOONE CAVERNS AND VILLAGEP.O. Box 411 Corydon, Indiana 47112 (812) 7324382
WYANDOTTE CAVESRt. 1 Box 85 Leavenworth, Indiana 47137 (812) 7382782
CRYSTAL LAKE CAVE7699 Crystal Lake Cave Dr. Dubuque, Iowa, 52001 (319) 5566451 or 8724111
CRYSTAL ONYX CAVE8709 Happy Valley Rd. Cave City, Kentucky 42127 (502) 7732359 1878 Mammoth Cave Parkway Park City, Kentucky 42160 (502) 7492891 Kentucky Buffalo Park Horse Cave, Kentucky 42749 (502) 7862634
BRIDAL CAVEP.O. Box 607 Camdenton, Missouri 65020 (314) 3462676
CAMERON CAVEP.O. Box 913 Hannibal, Missouri 63401 (314) 2211656
FANTASTIC CAVERNSRt. 20, Box 1935 Springfield, Missouri 65803 (417) 8332010
MARK TWAIN CAVEP.O. Box 913 Hannibal, Missouri 63401 (314) 2211656
MARVEL CAVESilver Dollar City Marvel Cave Park, Missouri 65616 (417) 3382611
MERAMEC CAVERNS144 Exit 230 Stanton, Missouri 63079 (314) 4683166
ONONDAGA CAVERt. 1, Box 115 Leasburg, Missouri 65535 (314) 2456600
TALKING ROCKSReeds Spring, Missouri 65737 (417) 2723366/3388220
THE POLAR CAVESRFD #4, Box 1835 Plymouth, New Hampshire 03264 (603) 5361888
CARLSBAD CAVERNS3225 National Parks Highway Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220 (505) 7852232 (Visitor Center) 8858884 (Adm. Office)
ICE CAVE12,000 Ice Caves Road Grants, New Mexico 87020 (505) 7834303
HOWE CAVERNSHowes Cave, New York 12092 (518) 2968990
2210 East Route 245West Liberty, Ohio 43357 (513) 4654017
OLENTANGY INDIAN CAVERNS1779 Home Road Delaware, Ohio 43015 (614) 5487917
PERRY'S CAVEP.O. Box 335 PutinBay, Ohio 43456 (419) 2852405
SENECA CAVERNSBellevue, Ohio 44811 (419) 4836711
ZANE CAVERNS7092 State Rt. 540 Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311 (513) 5920891
ALABASTER CAVERNSRt. 1, Box 98 Freedom, Oklahoma 73842 (405) 6123381
SEA LION CAVES91560 Highway 101 Florence, Oregon 97439 (503) 5473111
CRYSTAL CAVER.D. 3, Box 416 Kutztown, Pennsylvania 19530 (215) 6836765
INDIAN ECHO CAVERNSP.O. Box 188 Hummelstown, Pennsylvania 17036 (717) 5668131
INDIAN CAVERNSSpruce Creek, Pennsylvania 16683 (814) 6327578
LAUREL CAVERNSRd #1, Box 10 Farmington, Pennsylvania 15437 (412) 3295968
LINCOLN CAVERNSRD #1, Box 280 Huntingdon, Pennsylvania 16652 (814) 6430268
PENN'S CAVERD 2, Box 265A Centre Hall, Pennsylvania 16828 (814) 3641664
WOODWARD CAVERt. 45 Woodward, Pennsylvania 16882 (814) 3499800
BEAUTIFUL RUSHMORE CAVEKeystone, South Dakota 57751 (605) 2554467
BLACK HILLS CAVERNS
Rt. 8, Box 570
Rapid City, South Dakota 57702 (605) 3430542
CRYSTAL CAVE PARK
Rt. 8, Box 280Rapid City, South Dakota 57701 (605) 3428008
JEWEL CAVECuster, South Dakota 57730 (605) 6732288
SITTING BULL CRYSTAL CAVERNS255 Texas Avenue Rapid City, South Dakota 57701
WIND CAVEWind Cave National Park Hot Springs, South Dakota 57747 (605) 7454600
BRISTOL CAVERNSP.O. Box 851 Bristol, Tennessee 37621 (615) 8782011
CUMBERLAND CAVERNSMcMinnville, Tennessee 37110 (615) 6684396
FORBIDDEN CAVERNSRt. 8, Blowing Cave Road Sevierville, Tennessee 37862 (615) 4535972
LOST SEARt. 2, Lost Sea Pike Sweetwater, Tennessee 37874 (615) 3376616
MOTLOW CAVELynchburg, Tennessee 37352 (615) 7594221
RACCOON MOUNTAIN CAVERNSRt. #4, Cummings Highway Chattanooga, Tennessee 37409 (615) 8219403
RUBY FALLSRt. 4, Lookout Mtn. Scenic Highway Chattanooga, Tennessee 37409 (615) 8212544
TUCKALEECHEE CAVERNSRt. 1, Box 381 Townsend, Tennessee 37882 (615) 4482274 or 4482422
CASCADE CAVERNSRt. 4, Box 4110 Boerne, Texas 78006 (512) 7558080
CAVERNS OF SONORAP.O. Box 213 Sonora, Texas 76950 (915) 387 3105
INNER SPACEP.O. Box 451 Georgetown, Texas 78626 (512) 8635545
NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNSRoute 20, Box 515 Natural Bridge Caverns, Texas 78218
CAVERNS OF NATURAL BRIDGE VILLAGENatural Bridge Village Natural Bridge, Virginia 24578 (703) 2912121
ENDLESS CAVERNSP.O. Box 859 New Market, Virginia 24578 (703)7403993 or 740CAVE
LURAY CAVERNSP.O. Box 748 Luray, Virginia 22845 (703) 7436551
SHENANDOAH CAVERNSBox 1, Caverns Road Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia 22847 (703) 4773115
1Box 193 Front Royal, Virginia 22630 (703) 6354545
LOST WORLD CAVERNSBox 187 Lewisburg, West Virginia 24901 (304) 6466677
CAVE OF THE MOUNDSBrigham Farm Blue Mounds, Wisconsin 53517 (608) 4373038 or 4373588
CRYSTAL CAVERt. 1,Box 18 Spring Valley, Wisconsin 54767 (715) 7784414
RIO CAMUY CAVE PARKG.P.O. Box 3767 San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936 (809) 7565555/8983100
by George Huppert
I was informed about the Malvern Conference in early 1993 and I decided that cave conservation was a natural topic for a presentation. The meeting was held from the 18th to the 24th of July in Malvern, England.
A fellow professor and I left on July 8 in order to spend some time doing a combination of touring and field work. We spent quite a bit of time in Scotland looking mostly at the geology (but no caves). After a week we headed south toward Malvern. On the way, we went through Yorkshire and, of course, had a look at some caves. One really worth mentioning is the extended tour into the newly opened section of White Scar Caverns. It's quite nice but unfortunately, there are some conservation problems-which is material for another article.
I thought that I might have the only karst paper among the 126 given at the conference. How presumptuous of me! There were quite enough to have an entire karst session plus more. I felt that the information presented was interesting enough to pass on the titles to those of you that might wish to obtain the full abstract from me. The titles in the karst session were as follows:
Malta: Model for the Conservation of Limestone Regions, Anna Spiteri (Malta).
Caves as Unique Conservation Education Resources, George Huppert (USA).
Sixty-five Yeas of Cave Conservation in Austria-Experiences and Results, Hubert Trimmel (Austria).
The Kras Region of Slovenia-An International Park?, Daniel Rojsek (Slovenia).
Karst and Environment-A Romanian Approach, Emil silvestru (Romania).
A number of karst and cave related papers were given in other sessions; they were:
Earth Science Conservation in Bulgaria, Tudor Tudorov (Bulgaria).
Rock Features in Bulgaria and Some Aspects of Their Conservation, P. Petrov and P. Iliev (Bulgaria).
The Proposed Chilcagh Natural History Park, County Fermanagh: A Locally Based Conservation Initiative, John Gunn, Christine Hunting, Sarah Cornelius and Richard Watson (UK).
Protection of Limestone Pavements in Britain, Helen Goldie (UK).
The American Cave and Karst Museum and the Work of the American Cave Conservation Association, George Huppert (USA).
Morphological Features of Limestone Pavements Around Morecambe Bay, England, Helen Goldie (UK).
The Natural Features of Posocje, Daniel Rojsek (Slovenia).
All of the papers (those submitted in full form) were to be published by the end of 1993.
After the conference, we spent several days in Wales (visiting some caves, of course) and finally arrived at home on July 27.
Anyone desiring the abstracts (and eventually the full papers) please contact me at the Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, WI 54601.
2813 Cave Avenue
Huntsville, Alabama 35810-4431
The National Speleological Society believes that caves have unique scientific, recreational and scenic values; that these values are endangered by both carelessness and intentional vandalism; that these values, once gone, cannot be recovered; and that the responsibility for protecting caves must be assumed by those who study and enjoy them.
Accordingly, the intention of the Society is to work for the preservation of caves with a realistic policy supported by effective programs for the encouragement of self-discipline among cavers; education and research concerning the causes and prevention of cave damage; and special projects, including cooperation with other groups similarly dedicated to the conservation of natural areas.
Specifically, all contents of a cave (formations, life and loose deposits) are significant for its enjoyment and interpretation. Therefore, caving parties should leave a cave as they find it. They should provide means for the removal of waste; limit marking to a few small and removable signs as needed for surveys; and, especially, exercise extreme care not to accidentally break or soil formations, disturb life forms, or unnecessarily increase the number of disfiguring paths through an area.
Scientific collection is professional, selective and minimal. The collecting of mineral or biological material for display purposes, including previously broken or dead specimens, is never justified, as it encourages others to collect and destroys the interest of a cave.
The Society encourages projects such as: establishing cave preserves, placing entrance gates where appropriate, opposing the sale of speleothems, supporting effective protective measures, cleaning and restoring over-used caves, cooperating with private cave owners by providing knowledge about their caves and assisting them in protecting their caves and property from damage during cave visits, and encouraging show cave owners to make use of their opportunity to aid the public in understanding caves and the importance of their conservation.
When there is reason to believe that publication of cave locations will lead to vandalism before adequate protection can be established, the Society will oppose publication.
It is the duty of every Society member to take personal responsibility for spreading a consciousness of cave conservation to each potential user of caves. Only by doing this can the beauty and value of caves long remain with us.
The Board of Governors of the National Speleological Society approved the following policy statement on November 6, 1993:
Caves, and areas of karst and pseudokarst development, are sensitive environments which often interact with surface and subsurface waters and ecosystems. They frequently harbor recreational, historical, and natural resources of considerable significance.
The National Speleological Society believes that all caves and cavernous areas are important; that cave wilderness, like surface wilderness, is a valuable resource that should be protected regardless of official designations or boundaries; and that caves and cavernous areas, with their unique environment and development, may require management measures which are independent of geographic boundaries or designations established for the management of other surface or subsurface resources.
Accordingly, the Society endorses, supports, and advocates the implementation of the following precepts:
Where formal designation of Cave Wilderness is a useful tool in protecting this resource, the National Speleological Society will support such designation through actions of its Board of Governors.
from John Marquart
Editor's Note: the following was reprinted by permission from the caver's mailing list on Internet.
There is much published about it. I'll summarize some, but first let's review some of the terms used. Toxic dangers can be reported in terms of "dosage" (exposure to a given quantity of the agent such as milligrams) or "concentration" (exposure to a certain ratio of amount of agent to the total amount of material present). In this context, we hear information on the "LD50" (lethal dose to kill half of a population of test animals) or LC50 (lethal concentration to kill half the population). LD50 is often reported as the number of milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Usually hazardous concentrations are reported in partspermillion (ppm).
What this means depends upon what the "background material" or "solvent" is. The pollutant can be called the "solute". If the solvent is a liquid, such as water, 1 ppm of solute means one gram of solute per million grams total material (solvent + solute) or equivalently one milligram (mg) of solute per kilogram (kg) of total material. For water solutions, one liter of water has a mass of one kg, so for small concentrations, 1 ppm water = 1 mg(solute)/liter(solution).
Gaseous samples are treated differently, however. Usually the "solvent" is air and 1 ppm = 1 volume of solute gas per million volumes of total gas. The volume of a gas depends upon the quantity of gas (in moles), the pressure (in atmospheres), and the temperature (in degrees Kelvin = degrees C + 273.2). To have some uniform method of comparison, gas volumes are usually reported at standard temperature and pressure (STP). Standard temperature is 298.2 degrees K (25.0 degrees C) and standard pressure is 1 atmosphere (14.5 psi). In that way, the volume of a gas is directly related to its amount in units of moles. A mole is the mass (in grams) divided by the molecular weight (in grams per mole). One mole of gas at STP occupies 22.4 liters (0.0224 cubic meters).
Since we are dealing here with the gases air, acetylene, and phosphene, let's summarize some of their properties that we will need:
Air is 78.08% nitrogen (N2), 20.95% oxygen (O2),0.033% carbon dioxide (CO2), and 0.934% argon (Ar). Its average molecular weight is 28.96 grams/mole. Water vapor is ignored since it varies widely.
Acetylene (C2H2) has a molecular weight of 26.02 grams/mole.
Phosphene (PH3) has a molecular weight of 34.00 grams/mole.
One reference, to be given later, gives the threshold limit of phosphene in which workers should be safe (TLV) at 0.4 mg per cubic meter. Let's convert that into ppm. One mg is 0.001 gram, so phosphene is 0.001/34.00 = 0.0000294 moles and 0.4 mg is 0.0000118 moles. One cubic meter of gas at STP contains 1/0.0224 = 44.6 moles of gas total. Therefore, 0.4 mg per cubic meter of phosphene is equivalent to (0.0000118/44.6)x1,000,000 = 0.26 ppm. Or in general 1 ppm = 1.5 mg per cubic meter. These calculations are true only for phosphene and would have to be redone for different gases.
1. "THE MERCK INDEX An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals" by the Merck & Co: The Merck Index is a very useful reference to start with. It includes data on millions of chemical compounds and lists physical and chemical properties, sources and methods of preparation, industrial and medical uses, and toxicology data. I have copies handy both at my office and at home. They give some references to follow up on.
Lethal concentration for rats: 60 ppm. Human Toxicity: (I reported in earlier article)
Lowest published lethal concentration for hamsters (inhalation): 8 ppm Human Toxicity: (as before, but they give references)
2. "HAZARDOUS MATERIALS HANDBOOK" by James H. Meidle (1972), p.252:
It reports phosphene as "even more toxic than phosgene". Phosgene was the primary war gas used in World War I and inhalation of very small quantities can be fatal. However, phosphene has a very disagreeable odor, while phosphene does not. Don't confuse the two. Phosgene is COCl2. They also note that a selfcontained breathing mask (supplied oxygen system) must be used in the presence of phosphene since canister masks will overheat.
3. "TOXIC AND HAZARDOUS INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS SAFETY MANUAL" by International Technical Information Institute (1975) pp. 41314:
Threshold limit for worker safety on a daily basis (TLV): 0.3 ppm or 0.4 mg/cubic meter. Lowest published toxic concentration in humans: 8 ppm Lethal dose 50 (LD50) in rats in 4 hours: 11 ppm
4. "HAZARDOUS AND TOXIC EFFECTS OF INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS" by Marshall Sittig (1979), pp. 3513:
Federal standard for permissible exposure limits: 0.3 ppm (0.4 mg/m cubed) 5. "INDUSTRIAL TOXICOLOGY" by Lawrence T. Fairhall (1969), pp. 912: Animals died in 20 ppm after two exposures of 4 hours each. Rabbits and guinea pigs could endure 5 ppm for 2 months when inhaled for 4 hours daily. Also note, he states "phosphene is an unstable gas which can decompose by heat alone and which is easily oxidized". We'll refer to that later.
6. "ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CRITERIA 73 PHOSPHENE AND SELECTED METAL PHOSPHIDES" by World Health Organization, Geneva (1988), pp. 6776:
A very complete review with many references. The best compilation that I came upon. They cite animal tests and human accident reports (fatal and nonfatal) for phosphene. There are too many to give here. If you are interested see this reference for completion.
7. "CRITERIA FOR THE RECOMMENDATION STANDARD OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO ACETYLENE' by U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare (1976):
This is also a very complete overview of breathing exposures to acetylene and impurities in it such as phosphene, arsine, etc. Like reference 6, it is too lengthy to cite here. It is a good source for further study. It concluded that acetylene itself has a very low toxicity to humans (see pp. 1444). At levels of 100,000 ppm or greater, (10%), it tends to act as an anesthetic and was in fact tried medically as an anesthetic. Toxic effects due to impurities in the acetylene caused the abandonment of this use. Illness and death accounts of workers with acetylene are attributed to the impurities, especially to phosphene.
By the way, another publication "Toxicology" by William D. McNally (1937) states that pure acetylene has the agreeable odor of geraniums and that dogs can withstand 20% acetylene in air with no notable effect and go into a stupor at 40%. They recovered with no apparent ill effects. Acetylene acts as a simple anesthetic. Do you associate acetylene from your carbide lamp with geraniums? I don't, but again we don't have pure acetylene.
8. MY CONCLUSIONS:
There are lots of other references to the toxicity of phosphene, but these are representative. In general, 0.3 ppm is considered as permissible for worker safety(TLV), while 8 ppm make humans sick in a hurry and 11 to 20 ppm is almost certainly fatal.
The calcium carbide that I used is Safesport brand from the Safesport Manufacturing Co, Denver, CO 80211. All commercial carbide is produced by the same electric furnace method, which has hardly changed since its invention at the turn of the century. The technology of carbide production is pretty much frozen in time and, for that matter, so is the design of carbide lamps.
As I pointed out in my earlier article, the impurities get in through the raw materials used (coke and lime). There might be some difference in impurities among different manufacturers or even among different batches from the same manufacturer. I have no data on that. There are, however, generally accepted international regulations about the amount of phosphorous that is permissible (see earlier article).
Commercial carbide is highly impure. Only about 80% of it is actually calcium carbide (CaC2). Much is calcium oxide (CaO) and some is calcium phosphide (Ca3P2). The calcium phosphide is the source of the phosphene:
Ca3P2(solid) + 6H2O(liquid) > 2PH3(gas) + 3Ca(OH)2(solid) At the risk of adding more scare to the subject (not my intention just giving the facts) There is also some Ca3As2(solid) in the commercial carbide that similarly reacts with water to form arsine (AsH3). Note that As is arsenic. Arsine is similar in many respects to phosphene. it smells the same and is of similar toxicity.
As shown in reference (5) above, the answer is yes, phosphene will burn. In fact high concentrations of phosphene are "pyrophoric" (spontaneously burst into flame in air). However, we are dealing with very low concentrations which are not pyrophoric, but should burn in an acetylene flame proceeding by to the reactions:
2PH3 + 3O2 > P2O3 + 3H20 and 2PH3 + 4O2 > P2O5 + 3H2O Unfortunately, phosphorus trioxide (P2O3) is itself very toxic and phosphorous pentoxide (P2O5) fairly toxic (see The Merck Index and other references above). I'd rather not open that can of worms for now. I have plenty to do just to answer Tom Moss's questions.
Tom points out quite correctly that the smell from some carbide lamps is slight when lit and only become annoying when the flame goes out or when the carbide chamber is opened. Apparently most of the phosphene is burned in the flame. He notes that some brands of carbide lamps, however, do smell even when closed and lit (especially Premier and belt generator type). I used a Premier in my tests and appreciate the comparison. In the future, I will also look at results from AutoLite and Guy's Dropper lamps that I have.
Most of the phosphene does probably burn up in the flame to P2O3 and P2O5, but some leaks out with unburned acetylene. Also an acetyleneair flame consists of very incomplete combustion of the acetylene and probably other ingredients in the gas as well. This incomplete combustion is paramount to the high intensity of white light that is given off by the flame (the reason we use it anyway).
Acetylene is highly unstable and under increased pressure and/or temperature dissociates to the elements:
C2H2 > 2C(solid) + H2(gas) The hydrogen (H2) gas burns readily, but the carbon particles formed by the dissociation of some of the acetylene gets heated to white incandescence. It is the heating of these unburned carbon particles that supplies the light. Since the acetylene is incompletely combusted, it is probable that other gases are also and escape unburned.
As pointed out above (Section IV.) acetylene does not at all burn completely in air. The frequent mention of soot produced and carbon markings in caves from the use and/or misuse of carbide lamps is a testimonial to the incomplete combustion. I wondered just how complete (or incomplete) it is. One possible (but not easy) method would be to trap the unburned particulate matter and weigh it. The difficulty is in completely trapping particulates from a hot flame without interfering with the burning or destroying the filter system. An easier way is to calculate the theoretical temperature of the flame and compare with its actual temperature.
A. TEMPERATURE OF ACETYLENE FLAMES: The theoretical (or ideal) temperature of flames can be readily calculated from available thermodynamic data. The calculated temperature is called the adiabatic flame temperature. In brief, you calculate the heat released by the combustion of the fuel with either pure oxygen or air and then calculate how much temperature rise the products of the combustion would experience given the amount of heat evolved. The thermodynamic data needed consist of heats (enthalpies) of formation and heat capacities at constant pressure for the reactants and products. It is assumed that no heat escapes in the form of radiation. That isn't perfectly true, but it is found that actual flame temperatures are typically about 100 degrees C lower than the adiabatic flame temperature (pretty close). Flame temperatures in air are lower than in pure oxygen because a considerable amount of heat has to go into heating the nitrogen in the air (80% of the total gas in the air).
Acetylene burning in air gives 2500 degrees K (2227 degrees C).
Acetylene burning in pure oxygen gives 4375 degrees K (4102 degrees C).
The temperature of acetylene burning in pure oxygen such as in an oxyacetylene torch is reported as about 2800 degrees C (3073 degrees K). This is 1302 degrees below the theoretical. Since for most other gases the actual and theoretical agree within about 100 degrees, we can conclude that the combustion is not at all complete for acetylene. The intense white light of the flame again shows that. A rough estimate might guess that the ratio 3073/4375 = 0.70 means that we have about 70% completion of combustion. This estimate is admittedly crude and could be handled better using thermodynamic calculations, but will do for this discussion.
I measured the temperature of the flame from a Premier carbide lamp while burning with flames that varied from 1 inch to 1 ? inches long. The hottest part of the flame is the extreme end (away from the lamp tip) and measured at 1030 degrees C (1303 degrees K). The temperature taken with and without the wind guard were identical. According to the rough estimate as above, the ratio is 1303/2500 = 0.48 or 48% completion of combustion.
It would be informative to get better data, but it is clear that the flame from a carbide lamp has far from complete combustion.
In Digest #4701, Tom suggested doing a "worst case" treatment of the threat of phosphene accumulation to a caver in a crawlway with no airflow using a 7liter tip. I trust that a 7liter tip means that it delivers 7 liters of acetylene at STP per hour. I will assume that the carbide is 80% pure and is as "dirty" as allowed by regulations. That is it produces 0.06% (600 ppm) of phosphene relative to the amount of acetylene. I will also assume that none of the phosphene is burned in the flame. This is hopefully untrue, unless the lamp flame has gone out. The biggest problem is deciding what volume of air space to consider contaminated. If the caver is passing through a sump or bathtub with only air space for his head, then that is indeed a small volume of air. I will take the unlikely case that the caver is immobile in a volume of 4 cubic meters for the duration of burning of the lamp.
I tested a Premier lamp which when charged to 2/3 capacity contained 70 grams of commercial carbide. At 80% purity that is 56 grams of calcium carbide or (56 g)/(64.1 g/mol) = 0.874 moles of calcium carbide. This will generate an equal number of moles of acetylene (0.874 moles). Since the phosphene produced is assumed to be 600 ppm of the acetylene, that gives us 0.000524 moles of phosphene, which occupies 0.0117 liters (0.0000117 cubic meters)at STP. The concentration of phosphene accumulated in the air is then [(0.0000117)/(4)]x 1,000,000 = 2.93 ppm. According to my conclusions in section I.B.8, that may be enough to make you sick, but probably would not be fatal. It is, however, ten times more than the TLV of 0.3 ppm and should be avoided. By the way, I found that the lamp burned for about 3 1/3 hours, whereas a 7liter tip would be expected to burn for 3 hours with the same charge of carbide. Not a bad comparison.
I want to thank Tom Moss and all others that added input to the question of the possible effects of toxic gases have when we use carbide lamps in caves. Tom's scenario was a good one to try, but the story is anything but closed and probably never will be. It does clearly show that more literature study and lab experiments are called for. I intend to soon analyze a carbide sample to find out more accurately how much of various elements are present. When I get results (not too soon), I'll let you all know. I suggest that those who are interested in the subject, design and try some tests of your own and let us know the outcome.
The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act mandates a nationwide inventory and listing of all significant Federally owned caves. Parks with cave resources should nominate them for inclusion in the national inventory during the 6month period beginning in January 1994.
Under Interior Department regulations implementing the Act, all caves on NPS land are considered significant by definition. Therefore our job is to identify which features within the park should be considered "caves". The NPS has no formal definition of a cave, but as a general guideline, a cave should include one or more passages that extend at least 50 feet from the entrance, or penetrate into total darkness, and passage length should be at least twice the width of the entrance. Do not nominate mines and other manmade excavations, or cavelike features including rock shelters, cliff overhangs, and fissures.
Caves may be nominated by any individual, organization, or Federal land manager. For the NPS, nominations should be submitted by the park superintendent. Parks should consult with local cavers and caving organizations as part of the nomination process. Cavers may be aware of caves that are not known to park staff, and may be able to offer assistance for the park's cave management activities.
The Federal interagency oversight committee responsible for developing the national inventory has established the following process for Federal agencies. Federal land managers will submit nominations, through a national clearinghouse, to one of six regional interagency review teams for technical review. technical review teams will send reviewed nominations to a designated "authorized officer" for the respective Federal agency on whose lands the caves are located. The federal authorized officer decides whether or not to list the nominated caves on the national inventory. Regional Directors have been identified as the authorized officers for NPS caves. Regional Directors will notify parks of the decision for each nomination.
All caves in a park may be nominated in one group by completing section A, and questions 5 and 6 of section B of one nomination worksheet, and attaching a computer printout or typed list of all of the park's caves. Other questions on the worksheet should be answered by the cave list. For each cave on the list, include its name, exact location(s) of its entrance(s), and characteristics, such as passage length, documenting that it meets the guidelines for consideration as a cave. It is not necessary to provide the other information requested on the interagency worksheet. However, the additional information is valuable for the park's cave management program and should be collected when possible for use within the park.
To expedite the review and listing process, superintendents may send nominations of all features that are unequivocally "caves" straight to their Regional Director for listing approval. Nominations of features for which there is some question as to whether they qualify as caves should receive technical evaluations from regional review teams. The superintendent should send these nominations to:
Cave Nomination Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 10
Three Rivers, CA 93271
A list of all of the park's caves determined eligible by the Regional Director should be maintained in the park in secure locked storage with limited access. Electronic data about these caves should also be protected from unauthorized access. To protect cave information, there will be no national or regional lists of significant caves.
The Act exempts cave locations from FOIA requests, and obligates Federal land managers to keep locations confidential unless disclosure would not risk harm to cave resources. However, the information may be made available at the superintendent's discretion to Federal or state agencies, educational or research institutes, or individuals or organizations assisting with the park's cave management activities.
Thank you for your cooperation with this important effort. Questions about the nomination process should be directed to Lindsay McClelland, Wildlife and Vegetation Division, at 202343-1004.*
Note: It is permissible to withhold information relating to the location of the cave pending the outcome of the nomination's evaluation by the Regional Interagency Review Team and the agency authorized officer. However, the location information must be provided to the agency authorized officer before a cave can be listed.
A. Applicant Information
Person or Organization Submitting this Nomination:
Telephone: ( ) Date:
Person to contact for additional information:
Name: Telephone: ( )
B. Nomination Information (See Instructions)
C. Significant Cave Criteria Information (See Instructions)
by Lisa Busch
reprinted from BioScience Vol. 44, #4, April 1994
Forest managers must balance the value of Alaskan aboveground tree wealth against asyetunmeasured underground stores
im Baichtal's breadth and stature hardly make him a prime candidate for squeezing through tight corridors or crawling along passages 12 inches high. But as the man who has spearheaded the exploration of a major cave system in southeast Alaska, Baichtal is often caught between a rock and a hard place.
Baichtal, a geologist for the United States Forest Service, has been put in the uncomfortable position of convincing his boss that a cave resource is equal in value to the land above it. In the case of Prince of Wales Island, caves lie below one of the richest timber stands in Alaska an area that has been managed by the Forest Service and logged for the past 25 years. If the caves are to be preserved, the Forest Service may have to change its management strategies because logging activities can fill a cave with slash and sediment, destroying it and its contents. While Baichtal helps the Forest Service grapple with this underground dimension of forest ecology, biologists, geologists, and archaeologists fear logging will impede further exploration and discovery in the cave.
Like many parts of Alaska, the geology of this region has been virtually unstudied. Baichtal, who came to soothsayer Alaska to mall age a molybdenum mine for the Forest Service in 1990, first suspected the existence of the Prince of Wales caves while looking at some aerial photographs.
What no one else had seen, Baichtal recognized as textbook karst (a porous rock, especially limestone) topography. "I immediately saw there were streams that just ended, several hundred sinkholes on the plateau, and several cave entrances and resurging streams down by the lakes and realized this was a major karst area," says Baichtal.
There are karstlands all over the world, but scientists were surprised to find them so far north. "No one thought to look up here," says Baichtal. "Alaska was supposed to be all ice and snow."
But the Alaskan panhandle is mostly temperate rain forest. Prince of Wales, part of the Tongass National Forest, the largest federal forest in the country, receives approximately 160 inches of rain annually.
The rainfall, combined with the thick vegetative layer of the old growth forest and peat land covering the limestone, has created a unique cave environment. The uniqueness lies not only in the existence of an extensive karstland in a largely intact coniferous temperate rain forest, but also in the fact that the karst rock is so pure that it is dissolved by water four to eight times faster than caves in the lower forty-eight states. The cool temperatures, plus the slightly acidic conditions, help preserve the caves and their contents. Meanwhile, highly acidic runoff (up to 100 inches a year) flows off the peat lands and dissolves deep vertical shafts. Thus, new caves are continually being carved from the limestone.
Cave expert Tom Aley, who operates the Ozark Underground Laboratory in Protem, Missouri, says Prince of Wales could have as many as 3300 to 10,000 caves per square mile, which would make it the most concentrated cave area in the United States and possibly the world. In the past three years, approximately 300 caves have been mapped and explored by the volunteer cave exploration group formed by Baichtal to do most of the footwork.
Caves on federal land must be protected under the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act, which calls for the protection of any "significant" cave. The law still lacks criteria for determining what is significant. It says only that any cave with geological, hydrological, anthropological, archaeological, mineralogical, or biological value must be protected.
While the Forest Service is coming up with general national guidelines to deem a cave significant, the Ketchikan Area of the Forest Service, the office that manages Prince of Wales, is making its own assessments. After the Forest Service has assessed the cave resources, it may still decide that the caves are less valuable than the land above them, but the process of evaluating is intended to help land managers make better decisions.
To assist the Forest Service with its evaluation, Aley and a blueribbon panel of cave scientists came to the area during the summer of 1993 to survey the karst features. The panel was invited by the Ketchikan Area of the Forest Service.
The panel members were impressed with the geological history of the karstland. Prince of Wales Island is part of the Alexander Archipelago, a group of islands that formed in warm, shallow seas during the Silurian 450 million years ago, and drifted up to the wastrel edge of the North American continent. According to Peter Huntoon, professor of hydrogeology at the University of Wyoming, the islands are thought to have hit the mainland at an oblique angle and then to have been "smeared" during northward. The sea has risen and fallen several times during the millions of years that followed. The most recent rise was approximately 10,000 years ago at the end of the Wisconsin Era.
"It's fantastic," says Huntoon, a member of the panel. According to the panel's report, "There is no other place in the world where tropical limestones have traveled so far, been involved in such an oblique collision with a continent, and ended up emplaced in an archipelago setting at such high latitudes."
From the geology of this region, an entire karst ecosystem has developed to be an integral part of the ecology and biology of the area. The porous karst provides extensive drainage and allows the trees to grow tall. This drainage, combined with the limestone's purity, affects the soil chemistry. Because the limestone here has a 9599% soluble purity, little of the rock is transformed into soil so soil layers are thin.
In addition to supporting the forest ecosystem, the caves present archaeologists with the chance to rewrite the story of human migration into North America. And biologists, by studying the caves' organisms, may gain greater understanding of the development of relict species isolated during periods of climate change.
Until now, the coast of Alaska was thought to have been covered with ice during the Pleistocene. But archaeologists began to scratch their heads when grizzly and black bear bones found at the bottom of one cave were estimated to be more than 12,000 years old.
If bears were able to live here, at least some parts of the area were not overridden with ice. James Dixon, director of the Alaska Quaternary Center and curator of archaeology at the University of Alaska, takes the reasoning one step further. He says if bears were living on the islands of southeast Alaska, humans may have been there too. Dixon hopes these caves will provide evidence for a revised edition of human migration into North America.
The traditional theory of North American migration has humans, following big game, coming over the Bering Land Bridge and down an inland icefree corridor in what is now Alberta, 11,000 years ago. This inland theory hinges on matching the timing of two receding North American ice sheets with approximately 30 prehistoric sites in Alaska and Canada where projectile points have been found.
However, some archaeologists argue that humans came to North America much earlier than 11,000 years ago. Several human archaeological sites as far south as Chile and as far east as Pennsylvania have been dated at more than 30,000 years old. But because no one has found signs of humans in Alaska that predate the Ice Age, scientists remain puzzled about how humans got so far south or east. Although some scientists hypothesized that humans came down the west coast of North America, the coastal theory stagnated because all possible evidence was thought to be either crushed by the glaciers or submerged under the rising sea.
But recent geologic research indicates that sizable areas of southeast Alaska were icefree along the continental shelf beginning approximately 16,000 years ago. There may have been in the area a coastal corridor, or refugee, that could be traversed by plants, animals, and humans.
This coastal refugee theory paints a different picture of early humans. Dixon and Forest Service archaeologist John Autry believe early humans may have been a robust, adventurous, maritime people, who were innovative enough to use boats as transportation.
"The coastline of this area is very steep and irregular," says Autry. "It's very hard to walk 10 miles because of thick vegetation and rugged terrain, but it's not hard to travel 20, 30, or 40 miles in a single day by boat. "
Dixon and Autry have not yet found any Pleistocene boats, but they say there is archaeological evidence all along the coast that indicates humans were marine adapted. "All over the coast eve have found evidence, such as obsidian pieces originating elsewhere, that indicates humans were trading using water passageways as early as 10,000 years ago," Autry says. He points out that humans in other parts of the world were capable of using boats 30,000 years ago. "The people who arrived in New Guinea 33,000 years ago must have used boats, and there is evidence that early humans in Japan were using boats very early on," he adds.
Though archaeologists are always reluctant to characterize early humans, Dixon says coastal people would have had a radically different society than inland hunters. The inland hunters were dependent on their young men to provide food. They had to have good shelter and large food stores to survive the cold, severe winters. "Coastal people could have been a lot more mobile [than inland hunters]," says Dixon. "The climate is milder on the coast, and women, children, and people of all ages could have collected a tremendous amount of food in a short period of time, and possibly they were not so reliant on younger males to capture big and dangerous animals."
Dixon and Autry know that humans have used the Prince of Wales caves for at least 3000 years, because they have already found dramatic cave paintings, sea shell middens, and an otter ceremonially wrapped in bark in the caves, but they are hoping to find human archaeological evidence that predates the Ice Age. Autry and Dixon evil be looking for evidence in the area that was once the coast, in what are called littoral caves, caves that are made from mechanical weathering by the ocean.
Dixon says the Prince of Wales caves "present one of the last major scientific frontiers of its type in North America. The caves and their associated deposits provide unparalleled opportunity to interpret a rich cultural and paleoecological record dating to the late Pleistocene and possibly earlier."
The coastal refugee theory, the idea that the coast or parts of it remained icefree during the Pleistocene, is furthered by the discovery of a rare freshwater amphipod collected on Heceta Island just off the coast of Prince of Wales. The amphipod Stygobromus quatsinesis is a caveadapted (blind and white) amphipod that has also been identified on Vancouver Island, which is 320 miles south.
Bill Elliot, the biospeleologist who collected the amphipod in a freshwater cave stream, says one explanation could be that over millions of years the amphipod traveled through subterranean passages under a coastal plain that is now flooded with salt water. "I wonder if the old plumbing is still there," Elliot speculates. "The Stygobromus could have some importance in understanding the movement of the glaciers in the area as well."
Elliot collected this amphipod after only a few weeks of study and expects there are more invertebrates to be found. "The caves could hold some very interesting things…organisms that may have existed before the Ice Age. The caves are a kind of time capsule to the past."
John Holsinger, a biologist at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, has described hundreds of amphipods in his career, and he was shocked to find this genus so far north. "This represents a pretty major range distribution, and it begs the question, 'how did these things get there?"' Holsinger believes the Stygobromus, which has cousins in Asia, could have survived during the Ice Age by living in deep groundwater. "If that is the case," he says," these critters could be over 40 million years old." He believes they may have been isolated on these islands by the elevation of the sea.
Although scientists like Huntoon, Aley, and Elliot are beginning to understand the interrelationship between the geology and the vegetative layer, they also are impressing on managers the idea of approaching karst as more than just a few holes in the ground. "I would like to see people recognize the importance of the entire karst area, not just the individual caves," says Baichtal, who is implementing many of the panel's recommendations for karst management on Prince of Wales.
Baichtal's job is to evaluate the importance of the cave system to the entire ecology of the area. He is first assessing the location of springs, streams, and groundwater basins, and then mapping them in relation to valleys and sinkholes. The information is to be used to create an inventory of connected karst areas.
Baichtal then plans to classify the karst areas for sensitivity to damage from such activities as logging. A stream from one karst area can supply water to a karst basin more than a mile away. If logging occurred in one area, debris and organic matter could be carried by the stream into a distant cave. Tree limbs and organic matter flushing into the karst conduits and sinkholes plug cave entrances. When the caves clog, the drainage they provide the old growth forest is destroyed. Baichtal's classifications will be considered in logging plans.
The problems that Prince of Wales caves pose for land managers are not unusual. At the National Cave Management Symposium in October, managers, regulators, scientists, and cave explorers discussed the challenges of cave preservation. Tourist traffic, local zoning, and groundwater contamination are big problems for caves, but the discovery of new caves, especially on federal lands, puts pressure on cave conservationists to prove a cave's value while simultaneously exploring it for the first time.
Caves on federal lands must contend with oil and gas drilling and with cattle grazing. In Prince of Wales, preserving the caves could mean an environmental conflict with loggers. Aley worries that the giant fir, spruce, and hemlock on Prince of Wales could follow the same fate as the biblically famous cedars of Lebanon, which also grew on karstlands. Once harvested, they never grew back. He adds that because the karst in Alaska lies under a very thin layer of soil, the denudation risks are much greater than in other forested areas. "There are some parts of the Prince of Wales that if cut, the forest will never come back…ever," says Aley.
Dave Rittenhouse, who supervises the Ketchikan Area of the Tongass National Forest, admits that "it is a little overwhelming to deal with the implications of subsurface resources." But he knows logging practices will have to be changed if caves are to be preserved. In some areas, buffers around caves could be provided and roads constructed more sensitively, but in other areas timber harvests may have to be stopped altogether.
Still, Rittenhouse is excited about the new managen1ent challenges. "It is almost as though we have discovered a new island, and now we have this new piece of underground real estate to deal with."
Rittenhouse and Baichtal are setting the example for how land managers around the country can deal whitewall newly found underground resources. "They really are trendsetters," says Aley, "and we hope other land managers follow in their footsteps before more caves are [unknowingly] destroyed."
Lisa Busch is a freelance science writer based in Alaska.
Submitted by Fred Grady. from some newsletter, probably the DC Speleograph.
It appears that some people in Southeast Alaska are concerned about the caves in Southeast Alaska and the Federal Cave Resource Protection Act. The Forest Service has apparently received some anticave letters. Following is a letter which was printed in the Ketchikan paper. If you would like to send a Positive letter of encouragement to the Forest Service here are the addresses:
EDITOR, Daily News:
I read the public notice in the Ketchikan Daily News requesting comments on cave development on Prince of Wales Island.
I have been in hundreds of these Alaska caves and no matter how much folks try to portray them as some magical and natural formation they are still just deep dark holes in the ground. Spending thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars studying and developing and building trails in them is a waste of money and time.
Most, if not all, of the processes that form caves are already understood and documented. Maybe not for this particle cave but for caves in general. All of these spelunkers on the public payroll should be disciplined for contemplating such a wasteful project when this country is undergoing lean financial times. I do not wish to be harsh about the caliber of these cave scientists. I am sure that as far as cave scientists go we have some of the best in the world right here in our midst.
But when this country is so far in debt, is now the time to undertake this venture?
Regarding your proposals for operating tours of the caves, it is a bad plan. I believe that there is no market, or such a limited market for looking inside this hole that for the government to get involved with tours will result in a catastrophic and near criminal waste of money. I think that the Forest Service should gate the entrance off until such time that a private Concessionaire can operate it profitably with absolutely no government involvement. Zero. The gate should not be locked shut. It must be welded shut until that time. Otherwise, the Forest Service will be tempted to hire additional people to administer these caves thereby wasting more money. In some cases the tendency has been for people in these new found disciplines to prioritize themselves and their projects higher than the scientists involved in resource extraction and money making. Another poor result.
These caves are supposedly fragile. They may be but do not fret because even as you read this, Mother Nature is actively in the process of making thousands of new caves.
As a final note, the national debt is now at $4,500,000,000,000 and rising. Amazingly enough the United States has managed to become an economic superpower without developing these homes for bats. If people in the government are overcome with the urge to do something about deep, dark holes they should spend some time contemplating the economic pit that unchecked government spending has put this country in.
A Sincerely Frustrated Taxpayer,
March 18, 1994
John Juraschek, Executive Director
P.O. Box 17010
Boulder, CO 80308
RE: ROCK BOLTING IN CAVES AND CAVERNS
Dear Mr. Juraschek:
In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to climb Mt. Everest. The mountain he met then was pristine, natural and unblemished. Today's climbers find well worn paths and a litter of trash and abandoned gear. The challenge remains, but the beauty and glory are soiled almost beyond repair.
So, too, are most of the great climbs ... not because the climbers lacked skill, but because many were thoughtless of those yet to come. It is the same with many caves and caverns. We, cavers and climbers alike, must consider those who will cave and climb behind us. We must exercise care to minimize our impact, out of respect for the very challenge and beauty we seek for ourselves. It is a courtesy to others and our posterity.
Please, as you speak to other climbers, think of your own future, your fellows, and all others who seek the challenges of our natural world. Climb softly. The real test of skill is to climb without a trace ... to leave the rock so clean that your successors cannot follow your path, but must face the challenge fresh, as a true test of their own skill.
Cliffs and overhangs are to climbers as caves are to cavers. They are our focus, our challenge, and our love. Our goal is to be able to enjoy our pursuits without diminishing the experience of those who may come after. I ask you, and climbers everywhere, to help us work toward that goal.
Albert A. Krause
February 23, 1994
RE: WATER CONSERVATION EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Dear Karstlands Conservor:
I received the attached request from the BLM Water Conservation Center. I'll make a generic reply on behalf of the NSS, but I know you have much to offer that I haven't picked up on yet.
I would appreciate it if you would make an independent reply and ship a copy to me so I'll be sharper next time around. These folks are, apparently, interested in a broad range of water related topics and are trying to develop a nationwide register of information sources for all sorts of audiences, from the local to the national level ... the caver who is willing to talk to a local school group on up to the producers of nationallevel films and museum exhibits. Done well, it'll be a source book for everyone's needs.
Please contribute and help put cave and karst concerns out front where they can be seen. Pass this along if I've missed anyone I should have sent a copy to.
Albert A. Krause
Attachment: Resource Inventory Form, Water Conservation Center
Distribution: Pres, Admin VP, Exec VP, Ed & Info Div, Conserv & Mgmt Sect, Public Relations Comm, AV Aids Comm, IKC, NSS Office
February 14, 1994
David H. Jagnow
901 lath Street #11300
Los Alamos, NM 87544
RE: SALE/EXHIBITION OF SPELEOTHEMS
Today's mail brought me a copy of your fax to the NSS Office dated February 9th. Attached is a copy of my response to Mr. Zinn.
Do you have addresses or contacts in the national or regionallevel mineral collecting associations we can write to for support or assistance? Mr. Zinn is but one of many organizers of shows. If we can get national support and understanding, we will have done a great deal to educate the public and promote cave conservation.
I agree we should develop and promote a policy banning the sale and/or trade of speleothems. Politically, it would be difficult, but every nation joining the ban would be another big step forward. Would you be willing to undertake the challenge of developing and coordinating such a policy on behalf of the Society?
Attachment: Letter of 021494 to Mr. Zinn
Sincerely yours,Albert A. Krause Conservation Chair
February 14, 1994
Mr. Martin Zinn
Martin Zinn Expositions
P.O. Box 999
Evergreen, CO 804390999
RE: SALE AND EXHIBITION OF SPELEOTHEMS
Dear Mr. Zinn:
Cave formations, by their nature, differ from many mineral specimens which are obtainable only from mines and rare, almost singular, occurrences isolated from man and vulnerable to the erosive forces of nature. Speleothems occur in caves and cavities where their very setting serves to enhance their appreciation. At their best, they constitute an attraction for present and future generations of cave scientists, recreational cavers, and the admiring public.
All too often, the public erroneously perceives, through mineral shows and other exhibits, that such formations are desirable collectibles and souvenirs. They fail to recognize, as most good mineral collectors might, that others will come after to enjoy them as attributes of their natural setting. In a sense, stripping caves of their formations is as offensive as stripping the travertine from "Old Faithful".
On behalf of the National Speleological Society, its members, and the public, I beg you to consider these concerns and to prohibit the exhibition and/or sale of speleothems at exhibits you sponsor or support. Revealing the beauty of the underground through pictures conveys a sense of awe and, for the photographer, a permanent record of having been there and recorded the unique specimens he has 'captured'. Physical specimens, regardless of origin, tend to promote the irreparable loss of the very beauty which draws men to explore the underground.
Thank you for your consideration and understanding.
Albert A. Krause
If you are not already a member of the Conservation and Management Section of
the National Speleological Society, you are invited to join. Dues are $5.00 a
year, payable to the NSS Cons/Mgmt Section. Members receive the newsletter
regularly and are entitled to vote at the annual meeting.
r Yes, I would like to join the Conservation/Management Section. Here are my dues in the amount of $________ (dues of $5/year may be prepaid for up to three years). Name___________________________________ NSS No.________ ___ Address_________________________________________ ______ City__________________________ State_____________ ZIP_________________ ___ Please send this form with check/money order to the Secretary-Treasurer: Evelyn Bradshaw, 10826 Leavells Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22407-1261.
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