Showing posts from March, 2018

Dye Tracing in Big Creek Gorge

On Saturday (3/24/2018) I tagged along with the gang from Karst Springs Initiative (KSI) to provide assistance where needed, and to play paparazzi for their efforts to better understand the groundwater in Big Creek Gorge. In other words, I knew there would be some amazing photographic opportunities and I could geek out with like-minded people Our team consisted of  Ben Miller (USGS), Lee Anne Bledsoe (Crawford Labs), and Hali Steinman (WKU) - in other words, an all-star cast. Another group consisting of Joel Buckner, Bruce Robtoy, and Brian Ham injected dye into Schwoon Spring sink and Fall Creek sink while Kelly Smallwood and Jason Hardy (The Hardwoods) formed the final group and poured eosin in nearby Schoolhouse Creek. My group had a few objectives. First we set receptors at the Granddaddy Sink where Big Creek goes underground. Receptors were also placed at a number up springs about a mile upstream from Granddaddy Sink. And finally we were pour

The Origins of Data, and the Future of State Cave Surveys

In my short ten years of caving I've been witness to a tsunami of new cave data. Being the data hoarding geek that I am, I have tried to surf that wave. Data doesn't come easy though. We need folks like Gerald Moni, of the Tennessee Cave Survey (TCS), to solicit, collect, organize, manage, and distribute the data. Data collection, or as Gerald calls it, "Doing the hard part", is honestly the hard part. The joke seems lost on some people - caving is hard to do physically. We crawl, scrape, fight our way into and hopefully back out of these holes - and then that's the end of it. We often don't record our trip, which in a strange way makes it as if it never happened. So weekend after weekend Gerald organizes trips, and sits patiently at the cave entrance while we have fun. Upon our muddy exit he asks in his inimitable way, "How far did you go; how tall was the passage, how wide? Slow down..." Descriptive science is the most basic form of science