Blasting etc.

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Blasting etc.

Postby Dangerjudy » Dec 17, 2015 9:02 am

I've been asked by a person interested in caving, why it is considered OK to chip or blast away at a passage to widen it enough to get through. What would your answer be?
Birmingham Grotto, NSS 49720. "I reserve the right to be ridiculous." bono
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby LukeM » Dec 17, 2015 9:24 am

To get to the other side!

Seriously though, my best answer would be because it has been generally agreed upon by the caving community that it's acceptable. You have to ask yourself, who is assigning value to these natural features? I would have to say humans, and more specifically, cavers are since they are typically the only visitors. So if most cavers would rather have that restriction removed so a bunch more cave can be explored then it makes sense to do so since there is no other entity, sentient or otherwise that will miss that rock being there.

That doesn't mean it's a light decision and that you don't have a responsibility to future cavers. You have to determine the potential value of passage modification. In the case of a situation like Lechuguilla, obviously the scientific and exploratory payoff is enormous, and well worth whatever value could be assigned to the rocks that were modified at the entrance. If you are simply trying to make a passage more comfortable you have to be intellectually honest with yourself about whether the comfort of future cavers is more valuable than the character of that passage.

And then there are grayer areas such as modification of formations and impacting biological resources. I don't think there is a general consensus in those cases.
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby Tlaloc » Dec 17, 2015 10:01 am

tiger has to hunt
bird has to fly
man has to sit and ask
why? why? why?

tiger has to sleep
bird has to land
man has to tell himself
he understand

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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby gindling » Dec 17, 2015 10:29 am

Because as an agent of erosion I feel it is my obligation, nay my duty, to help these poor smaller passages to catch up with their larger brethren.

Maybe their aggressive water got pirated away before they could catch up, or they may be a bit more stubborn in hardness or tooth, but I am here to lend a hand and help them along.
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby MUD » Dec 17, 2015 10:14 pm

The landowner said I could. :big grin:
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 17, 2015 10:43 pm

Dangerjudy wrote:I've been asked by a person interested in caving, why it is considered OK to chip or blast away at a passage to widen it enough to get through. What would your answer be?


Why shouldn't it be?

That's a starting place. You'll learn the values of the other person, and that can lead to a discussion about the relative values of things, and who gets to set them.

I don't agree with Luke that community consensus makes anything right or wrong (I do all sorts of things that are generally forbidden by the vocal caving community, because I don't believe that they are wrong) but I do agree that humans and cavers specifically have the right and the responsibility to assign value to cave passages. Who else?

Of course you'll find that different things are important to all of us, and we make decisions in different ways. Cavemud cares a lot about landowner's rights. While I care a lot about being good to people, I'm not at all concerned with their rights as owners. So we may approach some situations differently. Similarly, Cavemud saw through the WNS nonsense years ago when many cavers still felt strongly that they had a personal responsibility to impact the situation. So they would have approached situations differently. Some cavers care more about speleothems than others. The terminus of a virgin passage I surveyed in VA blasts air, and I would love to find more cave. But the passage is also delicate and beautiful and I am not willing to destroy it. In fact, I'm not even willing to go there again, because I don't want to damage anything.

All any of us can do is think about how our behavior will impact things of value, our fellow man most importantly, and do what we wish within the bounds of kindness.
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby tncaver » Dec 18, 2015 2:14 pm

Cavemud wrote:The landowner said I could. :big grin:


That works for me. :kewl:
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby LukeM » Dec 18, 2015 2:32 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:I don't agree with Luke that community consensus makes anything right or wrong (I do all sorts of things that are generally forbidden by the vocal caving community, because I don't believe that they are wrong)...


I only feel that the caving community consensus matters because they are the ones assigning value to the caves, not that community consensus defines right and wrong. If I felt that taking speleothems was "right" I still wouldn't because I'm not the only one that uses and appreciates caves. Does that make sense? If it affects others I take them into account.
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 18, 2015 3:04 pm

LukeM wrote:
GroundquestMSA wrote:I don't agree with Luke that community consensus makes anything right or wrong (I do all sorts of things that are generally forbidden by the vocal caving community, because I don't believe that they are wrong)...


I only feel that the caving community consensus matters because they are the ones assigning value to the caves, not that community consensus defines right and wrong. If I felt that taking speleothems was "right" I still wouldn't because I'm not the only one that uses and appreciates caves. Does that make sense? If it affects others I take them into account.


Yes, that makes very good sense. I probably misinterpreted you a little bit.
And I didn't mean to say that I wish to flaunt community standards in a hurtful way, though I'm sure I have gone about things improperly in the past.

I'm surprised that anyone is opposed to digging and blasting, and have never heard any compelling arguments from that side of the issue.
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby bennettbike » Dec 27, 2015 9:14 pm

LukeM said it best. I have a cave that i found 3 or 4 years ago needs blasting or pic axing and its a pit above a big cave so one day ill get around to it.
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby tncaver » Dec 27, 2015 10:23 pm

bennettbike wrote:LukeM said it best. I have a cave that i found 3 or 4 years ago needs blasting or pic axing and its a pit above a big cave so one day ill get around to it.


So what are you waiting for bennettbike?
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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby trogman » Dec 31, 2015 10:08 am

tncaver wrote:
bennettbike wrote:LukeM said it best. I have a cave that i found 3 or 4 years ago needs blasting or pic axing and its a pit above a big cave so one day ill get around to it.


So what are you waiting for bennettbike?



Yeah- what he said.

If you need some help... :bananabat:

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Re: Blasting etc.

Postby trogman » Jan 8, 2016 1:06 pm

Bennettbike- Check your private messages, I have sent you one.

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