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Custer, SD, United States

Bird A.J.,Oakland University | Bird A.J.,CD adapco | Sawa M.,Oakland University | Wiles A.M.,Jewel Cave National Monument
Journal of Cave and Karst Studies | Year: 2014

Results are presented of a study of perceptions of caving-skills training. Information in the current study was obtained from questionnaires submitted between May 2011 and February 2012 by recreational cavers, researchers, and others who visit caves for enjoyment, exploration, research, or work. Respondents overwhelmingly support a connection between training and safety during cave visits. In the United States, there is an even split in numbers of people who report having had formal and informal caving-skills training. In the United Kingdom, more respondents report having had informal training than formal. In both the US and UK, experience level is high among respondents, but is not a statistically significant predictor for training type, although large majorities agree training is valuable. Outcomes from this research are used as a basis for discussion of the efficacy of caving-skills training programs in the United States and for discussion of caving-skills training already present in other countries where caving is prevalent, represented here by the United Kingdom.

Pflitsch A.,Ruhr University Bochum | Wiles M.,Jewel Cave National Monument | Horrocks R.,Wind Cave National Park | Piasecki J.,Wroclaw University | Ringeis J.,Ruhr University Bochum
Acta Carsologica | Year: 2010

Jewel and Wind Cave are two big barometric cave systems in South Dakota, USA. The entrances of Jewel and Wind Cave are roughly 50 km apart, and until now it is unknown whether their entrances belong to two separate caves or to one much larger cave system. One possibility for testing these two competing hypotheses is to measure and analyse the climatic conditions in the vicinity of these entrances and within the caves in detail. In this context, the thermal conditions and air currents are crucial. These in turn can be characterised by the spatial and temporal patterns of the dynamics of air entering and leaving through the respective entrances; even though these dynamics are coupled to atmospheric pressure fluctuations outside the caves, they differ for different cave systems and provide a "fingerprint" that has implications for the size and structure of individual cave systems. To give an example, Jewel and Wind Cave as the second and fourth-largest cave systems on earth show some similarities, but many more noticeable differences regarding their climatological behaviour, despite their close proximity to each other. The last big measurement campaigns on the climatic systems of the two barometric caves were carried out by Herb and Jan Conn in the 1960s, (Conn 1966). Despite their elementary work, the technical possibilities were very limited in those days. The self-constructed mechanical measurement equipment could only be used for basic measurements. Herb Conn was still able to identify the basic mechanism very clearly. He also carried out a number of different calculations on barometric air flow that remain important up to the present day. During the last 40 years, rapid electronic development has enabled us to use instruments that are far more precise and sensitive. The use of ultrasonic anemometers and dataloggers enables us to take more exact long term measurements. An extensive measurement programme was started in 2001 to fulfil several researchaims, and we are now in a position to decipher the different fingerprints of the caves much more reliably.

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