08 February 2009

On Rope on Day Two!

28 January 2009

Image: Scouting out a location to place the temperature sensor. Credit: Tim Titus.

We started off the first official day of working on rope. The cave where we were working required a 40 ft rappel into a skylight. I’m calling this cave Drop Cave. This entrance was excavated by cavers many years ago. They observed blowing air through a small crack and opened it wide enough to rig ropes to rappel into it.

This feature has not received much traffic, which made it an excellent candidate for our study. Tim and I went through the cave and deployed sensors within.

This morning, Doug, Denise and James began mapping this cave. It consisted of three skylight entrances, and has large booming passage. This may be the largest known cave on the lava flow.

Image: Sabine using a frog device to climb up rope and out of the cave. Credit: James Rice.

In one room, this cave contained what appeared to be the skeleton of a bobcat. Apparently, this cat fell into the cave and survived at least long enough to move a considerable distance from the closest entrance. I find it rather impressive that a bobcat could survive a 40ft fall. However, there is a possibility this cat found a way to climb into the cave unbeknownst to us. Unfortunately, someone walked away with the skull. Only the mandible and other bones remain.

Tim and I were finished before the mapping team. So, we climbed out and went to one of our non-cave features, where we then deployed sensors within this feature.

Dan’s team mapped Sprig Cave. This cave is rather mazy with considerable passage. We anticipate it will take a couple of days to both sketch and collect volumetric data of this cave.

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