17 June 2009

Sussing out a New Cave with CONAF

16 June 2009

Image: From left to right, Magda, me, Fernando and Jose Luis posing for a Explorers Club flag photo near the location of a newly discovered cave.

Today, the sensor team had a conops day. In particular, Tim was using the day to run additional analysis on the data collected. The mapping team returned to Salon Cave to begin the mapping efforts, and I headed to CONAF to meet up with Madga, Fernando and Jose Luis.

Image: Madga negociating a 20 foot upclimb. Fernando looking on as she makes the ascent.

Fernando and Jose Luis had found a new cave. So, exploring this cave with Madga, Fernando and Jose Luis was the only fieldwork on my agenda today. We were in the field for only a few hours. This cave was about 30m in length and was a classic piping cave. It was characterized with a sinkhole upslope from a lower elevation lateral entrance. This was a neat little cave. For such a little cave, it was highly decorated with salt formations.

Image: Some dunal formations (o dunas) of the Atacama Desert.

I took coordinates of this cave and it is quite likely that we will also collect thermal imagery of this feature as well when we conduct the overflights next year.

Image: The west end of the park with an excellent view of Licancabur in the background. At over 19,000 ft, Licancabur is the highest volcano in the Andean front range.

Since we arrived in San Pedro, the team has expressed an interest in having llama for dinner. So, the mapping team went by the butcher (el carnicero) today to pick up some llama. We had llama steaks marinated in wine, olive oil, garlic and onions. However, llama is a tough meat and is usually eaten fried or in stews. Despite this, dinner was excellent.

Image: The llama meal...

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