NSS Convention ~ July 25-30, 2021

Photo: NSS Archives

Several cavers and friends have been working to bring you a virtual selection of great programs during convention week. We may add a couple late-comers, but here's what we're working on so far.

All of these programs will be held live (or live-ish) over our Zoom channel. Specific dates and times are still in development. All times listed on this website are in the Pacific time zone.

Speleology for Cavers   [Virtual + Speleo-Ed]

Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 12:00 pm.
Instructor: Lee Florea, PhD, Indiana University
This course will be available online and also in-person at Speleo-Ed in California

Speleology for Cavers

Photo: USGS

The understanding of caves is an art learned on one part by direct exploration and observations, and a second part through pulling together the multidisciplinary threads that link the dynamic equilibrium of surface processes and their record in the subsurface. The movement of water and carbon is central to that understanding. In the Pacific Northwest, fire and ice are intimately involved with the movement of carbon and water, guided by the dynamic nature of the earth's crust-plate tectonics and volcanism. The classical framework of caves will be outlined and historic and modern interpretation of caves and their role the developing landscape will be explored. Specific to the Cordilleran of the western U.S., themes of volcano- and glacio-speleology will be included.


Captain Jack's Stronghold   [Virtual + Speleo-Ed]

POSTPONED, Time TBA
Instructor: Aimee Murillo, Lava Beds National Park
This course will be available online and also in-person at Speleo-Ed in California

Modoc Indians in a cave - 1872.

Modoc Indians in a cave - 1872. Photo: NPS

The Modoc War was the only major Native American war fought in California and the only one in which a general was killed. It was also one of the most costly wars in U.S. history.

From November 1872-April 1873 the Modoc people used their knowledge of the cave and karst features to defend their homeland from the US Army. Today part of Lava Beds National Monument in Tulelake, California this area is known as "Captain Jacks Stronghold." Join Ranger Aimee Murillo for an informative presentation about this area and Modoc War.


Geology of the Klamath Mountains   [Virtual + Speleo-Ed]

Thursday, July 29 at 4:30 pm.
Instructor: Bill Hirt, PhD, College of the Siskiyous
This course will be available online and also in-person at Speleo-Ed in California
Click here to download Zoom details.

Castle Crags Wilderness

Castle Crags Wilderness. Photo: Bill Hirt, Geologist

For the past 250-300 million years dense slabs of oceanic rock have been sinking beneath the western margin of North America, carrying water into Earth's interior that causes the mantle to partially melt to form magmas like those that are rising to build the High Cascade volcanoes today. In northern California and southern Oregon, however, thickened parts of some of these sinking plates have resisted being pulled into the mantle. Instead, they have collided with the western margin of the continent and been sutured to it as a series of accreted terranes; these form the bedrock of the Klamath Mountains.

The terranes that comprise the Klamaths typically originated thousands of kilometers west of North America, often as chains of volcanic islands in the tropics where the limestones and marbles that dot the range today began as coral reefs. After each terrane was accreted the oceanic plate to the west began to sink again, producing magmas that rose into the overlying crust and solidified to produce the granites we see exposed today at places like Castle Crags and Russian Peak. The decay of radioactive elements in these granites have enabled us to determine their ages and these, in turn, have made it possible for geologists to reconstruct the history of terrane accretion and uplift in the Klamath Mountains.

The wide variety of rocks that comprise the Klamaths - from oceanic lavas and sediments to serpentinite and granite-weather to a similarly wide variety of soils that contribute to the range's stunning biodiversity. Terrane accretion is a violent process that recrystallizes some rocks and shears and fractures others. Today these broken rocks, which are exposed in steep canyons cut by the Klamath River system and Pleistocene glaciers, are subject to landslides and rapid erosion if denuded of their forest cover.