2018 Course Schedule
|Karst Geology||June 3-9||Dr. Art Palmer|
|Visualization of Karst Field Data||June 11-16||Dr. Pat Kambesis|
|Exploration of Mammoth Cave||June 24-29||Mr. Bruce Hatcher and Mr. David Kem|
|Field Cave Ecology||July 16-21||Dr. Jerry Lewis|
|Show Cave Interpretation and Education||August 5-10||Dr. Leslie North|
Karst Geology is a field course that introduces the basics of karst and cave origin, with emphasis on geologic controls, interpretation, and field methods. Treatment of these subjects begins at an introductory level but quickly moves on to the level at which students are able to recognize and interpret karst geology on their own. Detailed topics include karst features and their origin, their geologic setting, hydrologic and chemical processes by which they form, geologic history of the Mammoth Cave region, how to interpret past conditions from karst features, and applications to practical problems. The course consists of classroom presentations and discussions, combined with field trips to surface and underground sites in and around Mammoth Cave National Park. The course is available as a workshop, or for academic credit (either undergraduate or graduate). For those taking the course for academic credit, a two- week field project and written report are required by August 1 following the course. A prior course in geology is recommended but not required. This course is held at the Hamilton Valley Research Facility near Mammoth Cave National Park. The objectives of the course are to introduce students to the full variety of karst and cave features and to the methods by which they can be interpreted. Although field work is focused on Mammoth Cave and vicinity, illustrated discussions will cover caves and karst of different types throughout the world. At the end of the course, students will be familiar with the main concepts of how caves and karst relate to their geologic setting and what they tell us about the regional geologic history. They will also be familiar with field techniques and technical criteria for distinguishing among the various types of cave origin and karst processes.
Instructor: Dr. Art Palmer
Arthur N. Palmer Bio: Arthur N. Palmer is former director (now retired) of the Water Resources program at the State University of New York at Oneonta and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Hydrology and Geochemistry, Emeritus. He has also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Research. He received his undergraduate degree at Williams College and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University. He and his wife Peggy have been involved with cave studies for several decades. They have done exploration, mapping, and geologic studies in many caves throughout North America, Europe, and China, with long-term projects in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. They are both honorary members of the National Speleological Society (NSS). Art also received the Science Achievement Award from the NSS. He is a member of the Cave Research Foundation and British Cave Research Association, and a fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA). In 1994 he received the Kirk Bryan Award for his GSA Bulletin article Origin and Morphology of Limestone Caves, and in 2004 he received the lifetime achievement award in karst from the Karst Waters Institute. Art is author of A Geological Guide to Mammoth Cave National Park, interpretive booklets on Jewel Cave and Wind Cave, South Dakota, co-editor of Speleogenesis - Evolution of Karst Aquifers, and author of many journal articles and book chapters on caves and karst. His latest book, Cave Geology, concerns the origin and interpretation of all cave types, including geologic, hydrologic, and chemical aspects, at a level that is accessible to readers with no technical scientific background, but which includes enough detail to be useful even to professionals in the field.
Exploration of Mammoth Cave
Exploration of Mammoth Cave is an intensive study of the exploration of Mammoth Cave, with a special emphasis given to the explorers, their discoveries, their motivations, and the incorporation of caves and karst features into the world’s longest cave system. Illustrated lectures, maps, photographs, and first-hand accounts of discovery will be used to promote understanding of the caves prior to daily field trips. Many underground trips will follow tourist trails closed long ago to the public, while other trips will require more strenuous walking and crawling in undeveloped passages on trips lasting 6-8 hours. Participants must be in good physical condition. This objective of this course is intended to introduce students to the history of cave exploration at Mammoth Cave. The course topics will focus on the exploration of the world’s longest cave during different time periods and will be covered in chronological order (for the most part). Content will be covered in both a classroom setting and in the field. Classes will begin and conclude daily at the Cave Research Foundation’s Hamilton Valley Research Station.
Instructor: Mr. David Kem
David Kem is the park manager at Nolin Lake State Park in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a B.S. and an M.S. in Biology. David is a former park guide and environmental educator at Mammoth Cave National Park, where he earned the 2013 Ed Bishop Award for Research and the 2014 Guide of the Year award. He is the author of "The Kentucky Cave Wars: the Century that Shaped Mammoth Cave National Park," a member of the Cave Research Foundation, and a volunteer with Program Services at Mammoth Cave National Park.s
Instructor: Mr. Bruce Hatcher
Bruce Hatcher graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Geology and received his M.S. in Geosciences from Western Kentucky University (WKU). Bruce’s interest in caves began at an early age while attending an elementary school program sponsored by WKU. He grew up only a few miles outside of Mammoth Cave National Park and began caving regularly at the age of 12. He began guiding tours in Mammoth Onyx Cave at Kentucky Down Under when he was 14 years old. His guiding legacy has continued to this day and also includes former work at Hidden River Cave and part time duty at Mammoth Cave National Park. Currently, he is a full-time employee of the State of Kentucky where he currently works as an Environmental Scientist for the Division of Water’s Bowling Green Regional Office. He is also a current member of the Cave Research Foundation.
Visualization of Karst Field Data
Data collected from cave survey are typically used to generate line plots and digitally rendered maps of caves with GPS entrance locations used to georeference lines plots and, sometimes, maps. However, there is so much more that can be done with existing cave data and maps and with some additionally collected data during cave survey and entrance field work. This course will explore various methods to derive more understanding and visualization of cave and karst field data. Not only will we learn the standard uses of various cave data reduction programs, we will go deeper and learn advanced methods such as tying data to surface locations, round-tripping data, and large cave/ large data sets methods. Then, we will use current best software packages (including the ArcGIS software suite and google) to push our understanding of the data even farther by georeferencing data and displaying it with additional information such as dye traces, topo quads and Geo topos. Instruction will also cover efficient development and use of data management systems, cave inventories and databases, and 3-dimensional analysis and rendering of cave/karst data. Various State Cave surveys will be looked at as well. The course format will include a combination of in-class instruction, field demonstrations, and instruction in pertinent cave/karst data collection methods. Students should be prepared to spend 2-4 hours underground though no special skills are required. A general understanding of cave or field data collection techniques is helpful but not required. Students will be expected to have their own laptops but software used for this course will be provided for each student. The course is available as a workshop, or for academic credit (either undergraduate or graduate). For those taking the course for academic credit, a database or cave/karst rendering project will be required with final project submission required by August 1 following the course.
Instructor: Dr. Pat Kambesis
Dr. Pat Kambesis received her Master's degree from Western Kentucky University (WKU). Her thesis focused on the karst hydrogeology of caves and karst in the upper Midwest of the USA. She received her Ph.D. from Mississippi State University through research that focused on the study of coastal karst and caves in the Caribbean and northeastern Yucatan Peninsula and on developing methods for morphometric analysis of caves and karst features. She currently teaches at Western Kentucky University in the Department of Geography and Geology. Her current research includes characterization of hypogene caves and karst in the Western US, the role of condensation corrosion in cave development, and in developing methods to better quantify and visualize cave and karst environments.
Instructor: Howard Kalnitz
Howard Kalnitz has been caving since the late 70’s and has concentrated on project caving after graduating from R.P.I with an engineering degree and moving to the Midwest in 1985. There he was introduced to survey and mapping with the Cave Research Foundation. Since then he has participated in various expeditions and has produced maps for caves in many states and countries. He became involved with the Kentucky Speleological Survey in the 2005 and has also been focusing on large cave datasets and geo-referencing of caves. He now serves of the president of the KSS as well as continuing to survey and teach survey and cartography skills.
Field Cave Ecology
The Mammoth Cave area is one of the hotspots of biodiversity among cave animals in North America, but what are these animals, and where are they found? These are questions concerning cave ecology, which is the study of subterranean habitats and their inhabitants, that are best understood by personal observation of the animals and their interactions with cave environments. Participants in Field Cave Ecology will learn to find and identify a variety of cave animals, as well as see their behavior and interactions with other species. To explore some tenets of population ecology, students will find species that occur in such small numbers that they interact little with one another, and others that occur in assemblages so dense they obscure the substrate. Watching living animals can teach about competition for food and space and even their strategies for the ultimate competition: predation. Nowhere is the influence of geology more influential on the presence of cave fauna than in the central Kentucky karst area. We will observe zoogeographic patterns of the cave fauna as a function of the regional and local geology. For example, we will see cave beetles that are ubiquitous in caves of central Kentucky, while other widespread groups of cavernicoles are curiously absent. The local geology that determined the presence of the multi-level Mammoth Cave System provides a stage on which the animals partition this complex environment and inhabit it in myriad patterns. Students will see diverse cave and karst habitats including sinkholes, sinking streams and springs. The course will consist of a combination of classroom discussions that summarize the biological principles and objectives of each day, followed by field trips to surface and underground sites in and around Mammoth Cave National Park. At least one field trip will be taken outside of the park to look at a classic example of pollution ecology in the Hidden River Cave groundwater basin. Participants will receive much of the class material in the field and hands-on experiences like population censusing will be emphasized. The course is available as a workshop or for academic credit. There are no prerequisites for the class. This course will be held at the Cave Research Foundation’s Hamilton Valley Field Station adjacent to Mammoth Cave National Park. Each student taking the course for academic credit will be required to complete a field journal and an individual field project. For the latter, a biologically rich cave is available for student use on the grounds at Hamilton Valley.
Instructor: Dr. Jerry Lewis
Dr. Julian J. Lewis has been working with cave and other subterranean communities for over 40 years. His dissertation research encompassed the subterranean aquatic communities in Mammoth Cave where community composition, species diversity, and overall population ecology were addressed. As owner and operator of a biological consulting company that deals solely with cave, karst and groundwater biology, his experience is in the “real world” of evaluating subterranean communities and habitats whose fates range from being protected in nature preserves to being bulldozed under highways or industrial parks. His field experience spans from the Hawaiian Islands to Lorraine. His clients have included The Nature Conservancy, federal agencies, various engineering firms, departments of transportation, and natural heritage programs from many states. Current projects include the final pre-listing evaluation of populations and habitats of troglobitic species in Kentucky that are being placed on the federal list of endangered species (for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and evaluation of nutrient flow through sinkholes into subterranean ecosystems (for U.S. Forest Service). In the world of academia, Dr. Lewis has published dozens of journal articles and book chapters. He is a life-long member of the National Speleological Society (N.S.S.) and is the editor for biology and conservation of their Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. He was presented the N.S.S. Science Award for lifetime achievement in the cave sciences. Dr. Lewis has taught a variety of classes at the university level and mentors graduate students as a member of their graduate committees. Currently he is the president of the Indiana Karst Conservancy, a member of the Cave Research Foundation, and sits on the boards of a variety of cave organizations and conservancies.
Show Cave Interpretation and Education
Show caves are commonly described as any cave made accessible to the public through infrastructure such as trials, lights, and hand railings. Show cave experiences can be either guided by trained tour guides or self-directed. At show caves, there is a tendency to skew towards a pure focus on entertaining cave visitors rather than balancing entertainment with educational content. Yet, multiple surveys of visitors to show caves has revealed that visitors often want to have more educational content incorporated into their guided and self-guided cave tour experiences. The course will explore proven strategies for balancing interpretation and education through guided and self-guided show cave tours. The communication of karst educational materials through exhibit design at show caves will also be discussed. Participants will gain experience in not only developing tour scripts and establishing appropriate stops along tour routes, but also the delivery of the content in such a manner that maximizes engagement for cave and exhibit visitors. Thus, the content of the course will be pertinent to both guides at show caves as well as managers responsible for balancing the needs of cave visitors with cave and karst stewardship. We will explore multiple show caves to better understand the plethora of strategies pursued to create a visitor show cave experience. Course participants will also learn how to develop and analyze tools to evaluate visitor experience, thus ensuring a show cave tour is accomplishing management, stewardship, education, and entertainment objectives.
Instructor: Dr. Leslie North
Dr. Leslie North is Associate Professor of Environmental Geoscience in the Department of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University (WKU). She serves as the Associate Direcotr for Education and Outreach Officer for the Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies at WKU. The primary focus of her academic career has been the development of effective informal learning education and communication materials and techniques, particularly those related to water resources, climate change, ecotourism, karst landscapes, and sustainability. Her research and community engagement activities also center on the use of eye-tracking for the development of visualizations and graphical education materials. Leslie has worked with a number of international organizations on issues related to these foci, including the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, Semester at Sea, The $100 Solution, City of Bowling Green, Kentucky, amongst others. In recent years, she has served as the project leader for multiple groundwater education campaigns aimed at teaching local populations about the importance of freshwater resources, and the role of individual actions in maintaining the quality and quantity of valuable water resources. She has conducted show cave research with data from over 100 show caves located across the global. Among other things, this research involved the development of effective training techniques to maximize both the educational and entertainment value of show cave tours.
Karst Resources of Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park protects over 1 million acres of karst and is home to over 400 known caves. The surface karst of the region feeds a deep karst aquifer that provides perennial flow to numerous desert streams below the rim of the canyon. Additionally, within park caves are numerous geologic, biologic, archaeologic, hydrologic, and paleontologic resources. This course will present our current knowledge of these karst resources, our understanding of the vulnerability of these resources, and an overview of efforts to manage and protect them. Each day's activities will last 10-12 hours to include as much information as possible. Early morning and late afternoon hikes will be coupled with lectures and a cave visit during the day. Participants must be in good physical condition, able to hike up to 9 miles per day in desert conditions at high elevation. Additionally, they should be prepared to spend time underground on one day for 2-4 hours. No special skills are required. Everyone will be responsible for their own meals; some lunches and dinners will be in the field. Due to summer conditions, hikes may start as early as 6 a.m. Lectures will follow field trips and may continue into the evening, usually finishing by 7 p.m.
Day 1: Arrive in Phoenix, drive to South Rim
Day 2: Orientation, overview of geology and regional hydrogeology of GRCA, hike the trail of time and field visit to Hopi Point to discuss geology. 2 mile one way hike, 50 ft elevation change.
Day 3: Grand Canyon speleogenesis, karst hydrogeology, short field trip to sinkholes near Grandview Point. 1 mile round trip hiking, 100 ft elevation change each way.
Day 4: Hike to Indian Garden to discuss karst hydrology and conduct inventories of karst springs in the area (9 mile round trip, 3000 ft elevation change each way)
Day 5: Cave ecosystem and other cave specific resources in GRCA, visit park museum to view minerology, paleontological, and archaeological resources.
Day 6: Hike to Horseshoe Mesa via Grandview Trail, visit Cave of the Domes, discuss hypogene vs epigene karst in the canyon, and discuss other cave resources in the park (biology, paleontology, minerology, archaeology). Also discuss Cottonwood Springs and the role of karst aquifers in maintaining riparian habitat. 7 miles round trip, 2000 ft elevation change each way.
Day 7: Return to Phoenix
Dr. Ben Tobin
Dr. Tobin is a hydrogeologist specializing in caves and karst terrain. He received his Master's degree from Western Kentucky University (WKU) and his Ph.D. from Texas State University. His Master's thesis was a study on the effects of urbanization conduit sedimentation in south central Kentucky, and his doctoral dissertation assessed the role that karst aquifers play in maintaining river flow in the Sierra Nevada. He is currently the hydrologist and cave specialist at Grand Canyon National Park and is working on efforts to understand aquifer flow patterns in the region.
Dr. Abe Springer
Dr. Springer is Professor of Hydrogeology and Ecohydrology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. He received his B.A. in Geology from the College of Wooster and his M.S. and Ph.D. in hydrogeology from The Ohio State University. Dr. Springer and his students study local and regional groundwater flow systems and human impacts on them, apply principles of sustainability to aquifer management through models, quantify the hydrological function of groundwater dominated ecosystems, the role of land-use change and disturbance on groundwater flow systems, study karst hydrogeology, and restoration of riparian ecosystems.