Determined Moonshiners Hole

Determined Moonshiners Hole entrance, Roy Price, Gerald Moni, Putnam County, Tennessee "It's not a saucer." - Gerald Moni

I had been contacted by a landowner in Putnam County to check some caves on his property. I met with Gerald Moni, and the landowner's father, Roy P. Roy is an intelligent and likable guy, 72 years old, and in pretty great shape.

We parked on a cul-de-sack and proceeded on foot. It was bitterly cold at 15 degrees, snowing, and windy, perhaps not the best day for a stroll in the woods. But since I work all the time, I take what I can get.

Not far below where we parked was the Hartselle-Monteagle contact, and the features Roy wanted to show us were there. I slipped in the first, a 15 foot dud, but blowing lots of air through a hole about big enough for my cat. The other two were less impressive than that, but all blowing lots of steam.

Gerald and I wanted to field check Determined Moonshiner, a nearby cave. We found it, and after taking pictures of the beautiful ice flow over the entrance, I kicked the ice out and went in to confirm the narrative. I think my only addition was that there was now a waterfall in the back of the cave (perhaps it was dry in 1975?). Climbing through water and ice to get back out into sub-freezing conditions we went to our next destination.

Roy said he knew of another cave whose entrance was even larger than the duds he took us to. We set out on foot from Determined Moonshiner and within 15 minutes had found the new cave.

The entrance is a small vertical climb, whose width and depth closely match the climbdown of Breakdown Palace. It spilled out onto a flow of mud and into a breakdown room about 60 feet across, 200+ feet in length, and an average ceiling height of about 20 feet. To the right the whole trunk dropped abruptly into was I'm guessing is about a 40 foot pit. The ground here was encased in thick black mineral deposits, so seeing the depth of the pit was difficult.

To the left from the entrance the trunk continued about 200 feet with several leads being observed in the breakdown.

I'm re-using the name Saucerful of Secrets (much to Gerald's disappointment) because the other cave I named that was discovered to have a previous name.


Curriculum Vitae

Greetings and welcome! This page showcases a collection of my publications, activities, and accolades. As my interests are diverse, you may find web pages and self-published posts that are not readily categorized. Thank you for your curiosity in my work! Chuck Sutherland


Geographer, photographer, caver

I am a professional geographer specializing in GIS software and data. I am currently employed at the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office as a Fire Prevention Geospatial Analyst. My responsibilities include managing and enhancing data collection systems, and performing analysis. Additionally, I oversee grant processes that aid volunteer fire departments and rescue squads.

I also work part time as an adjunct professor at Tennessee Tech University, where I teach Theory of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) I and II.

I enjoy photography and I am particularly interested in photographing natural phenomena from weather, to flora and fauna, to geology and landforms such as caves, waterfalls, and natural arches, as well as historic and prehistoric cultural resources. My work has appeared in a variety of mediums, including academic journals, music videos, news outlets, books, magazines, and websites with such well known names as The New York Times, BBC and the Discovery Channel having utilized my photography. I have a large archive of photographs of the southeast, which are easily searchable. If you are interested in using a specific photo, please don't hesitate to ask.

I also enjoy caving. I think of it as the most accessible form of "frontier exploration." It is a way to see the Earth from the inside out. Rocks and water have stories to tell. Like a detective, the curious can tease out their stories by carefully reading clues.

While I enjoy photography and caving, my true passion lies in inspiring others to take an interest in science. As a hobbyist citizen scientist, I have had the privilege of utilizing my skills in geography, photography, and caving to collaborate with scientists on remarkable projects.

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