08 August 2008

Another Wild Cave Chase

Originally Drafted 06 August 2008

Pete, Tim and Lynn chatting and looking as we traverse the southern extent of the Cordillera de los Andes.

The mapping team continued working at Tragaluz Grande. They are making a lot of progress on this cave, and plan to have it completed within the next few days.

Dunal formations on the southern extent of the Cordillera de los Andes.

Tim, Pete, Lynn and I went to look for the continuously elusive Cueva Zorro Andino. The mapping team had driven along this mountain range to try and indentify either the cave or areas on the range likely to contain this cave. They identified a few areas they thought were really good targets, so we set out to investigate these areas. We hiked along the northern flank of Cordillera de los Andes for about 5 km.

A peculiar rock ring formation observed along the southern flank of the Cordillera de los Andes. About 100m north of this ring, I observed a lithics scatter slightly further north. This lithics scatter was the location where prehistoric peoples were working stone for making tools.

Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful at locating this cave. Upon determining that we would not find this cave, we decided to discontinue our cave reconnaissance.

I had learned something about expedition work – especially expedition work involving cave mapping. It is a really good idea to break up the mapping work with cave reconnaissance. The mapping team has been working really hard underground, so they really appreciated some time to hike, ridge walk and look for caves. This really happened by accident. We did reconnaissance the first few days we were here. We found most of the caves where we are currently working, but we needed more caves. So, the past two days, I decided to take a couple of days to look for caves. A couple of people on the mapping team was having trouble with the dust, and this was a great way to break up the monotony of cave mapping and the adverse affects of continuous dust inhalation.

A stark landscape in the Atacama.

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