What to do with obtained cave formations?

Cave geology, biology, and similar topics. Also visit the NSS Biology Section, or the Cave Geology and Geography Section, or the NSS Paleontology Section.

Moderator: Moderators

What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby tempCaveQuestion » Oct 14, 2015 9:52 am

I have several cave formations.

They were donated to a thrift store, and I purchased them. After having purchased them, I read up and it looks like there are state and federal laws in place related to possessing and buying/selling these things.

Based on the rough condition, and that they were donated, there is a good chance these were taken a long time ago. But I have literally zero actual information about them. So I have no idea when they were obtained, or from where.

So, I have financial, legal and moral concerns. Financially, if they are worth money I would prefer to sell them because I need the money. Or, I can see about donating them somewhere, such as a school or museum. If donated, I need some way to appraise them.

I welcome all thoughts and opinions on the situation.

Thanks,
Last edited by tempCaveQuestion on Jun 4, 2017 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
tempCaveQuestion
New Poster
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 14, 2015 9:38 am
  

Re: What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 14, 2015 4:00 pm

Good luck! I have no answers for you. Normally, it's against all caver morals to collect formations. But what if you wind up with some, realize you need to get rid of them? Yikes. I hope people might help you here without too many lectures!
Barbara Anne am Ende

"Weird people are my people."
User avatar
Squirrel Girl
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3110
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 5:34 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
NSS #: 15789
  

Re: What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Oct 14, 2015 8:11 pm

There's certainly no moral reason that you should get rid of them. Since you weren't involved in removing them from the cave, the only thing you need to worry about is the influence a sale may have on onlookers. If you sell on Ebay, for example, there is a real possibility that someone may get the idea that they can make an easy buck snatching formations. This is partly why there have been many interventions by cavers in the online (and sometimes legally legitimate) sale of speleothems, as can be seen by searching this forum.

First consider what is right and wrong, then consider what is legal, and worry about your finances last.
User avatar
GroundquestMSA
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: May 5, 2011 1:32 pm
  

What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby Ernie Coffman » Oct 14, 2015 9:01 pm

What a sad display of formations that look like they were recently in a cave. What state are you in? Hopefully, you didn't pay too much for the formations for they're going to dry up and not be worth anything except to some rock hound. As for EBay, they've been warned...several times over the years...and they seem to be following along with the NSS policy of not selling cave formations. As for appraising them, that's a head shaker. For the most part, you're talking about peanuts, but on the other end of the spectrum of Groundquest's answer on "no moral reason," I believe he's wrong! You might not have been involved in removing them, as he says, but try to explain that to LE. Maybe he could explain to LE how an ounce or two of pot in his jeans got there, even though he doesn't smoke it. Ha!

I will agree with him on his last paragraph, though.
Ernie Coffman
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1145
Joined: Sep 10, 2005 12:07 am
Location: Grants Pass, Oregon
  

Re: What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Oct 14, 2015 9:27 pm

Ernie Coffman wrote:on the other end of the spectrum of Groundquest's answer on "no moral reason," I believe he's wrong! You might not have been involved in removing them, as he says, but try to explain that to LE. Maybe he could explain to LE how an ounce or two of pot in his jeans got there, even though he doesn't smoke it. Ha!


Ernie, you're talking about legality, not morality. Law enforcement have the authority to uphold law, which is too often a different thing than righteousness. I can't imagine what could be inherently immoral (a real fancy word for "bad", not for "illegal") about possessing cave formations. As for the contents of my jeans, they have never and will never include pot.
User avatar
GroundquestMSA
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: May 5, 2011 1:32 pm
  

Re: What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby tempCaveQuestion » Oct 14, 2015 9:33 pm

Ernie Coffman wrote:What a sad display of formations that look like they were recently in a cave.

Based on their condition, I would say they have not been in a cave in a very long time. But this is hardly my area of expertise.

Ernie Coffman wrote:Hopefully, you didn't pay too much for the formations

The whole set was like $25.

Ernie Coffman wrote:on the other end of the spectrum of Groundquest's answer on "no moral reason," I believe he's wrong!

If you consider it immoral, I am curious as to what your suggestion is. Donate them? Destroy them?
tempCaveQuestion
New Poster
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 14, 2015 9:38 am
  

Re: What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby graveleye » Oct 15, 2015 7:40 am

My mother has a cave formation that was given to her by her mother. My Gran was a school teacher in a karst area and back in the 50s it was given to her by a student who presumably got it out of one of the local caves. It's probably going to come to me one day and I intend to keep it.

I've ruminated over our situation a long time justifying having it since back then people didn't know better when they took it out of the cave. Both my mother and grandma were science schoolteachers so they appreciated it for what it was. I'll probably make a display out of it somehow then maybe arrange that it go to a museum when I pass on.

Am I wrong to have it? I don't think so. I feel bad that it is no longer int the cave, but there is no way I would ever be able to put it back unless I could find theexact spot from which it was taken, and I think that would be nearly impossible.

Seeking profit on them is something I personally wouldn't do. I would find a local science center or museum and donate them first.
ad astra per aspera

http://www.myspace.com/jamthecontrols

The views expressed in this post are not necessarily those of any organization I am affiliated with.

Become a sustaining member of the SCCI
User avatar
graveleye
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2934
Joined: Mar 14, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Georgia, USA
Name: Kevin Glenn
NSS #: 57238RL
  

What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby Ernie Coffman » Oct 15, 2015 9:45 am

Kevin lives in TAG country and a part of what folks did back in the early 20th Century was to sell formations--all up and down the East Coast, so we know that was a part of life back then. Thus, if a school chum was in a cave and brought out a formation--not saying he or she broke it off--and gave it to his friend, that was a way of life back then, so...I understand, fully, where you're coming from. And, there are thousands of other households, especially back in TAG country, that have formations sitting on their mantels, so...if it is pleasing for he and his family, so be it...I guess. It's a sentimental piece of rock from his grandmother.

Here in the West, we try and prevent things like souvenirs, but know that it can't be stopped. We stopped people in our own caving groups who we've seen stop and put a formation or two in their packs and have discussed this problem. But, one of the biggest incidents was when we came upon a huge formation that had been sawed off of the ceiling and was just laying their ready to be carted up "cardiac hill." Difficult to wonder how they were going to do that, for getting up the hill in one piece is a chore in it self, but with a hunk that weighed over a hundred pounds was a true dream...and then, what was he/they going to do with it. Damn!
Ernie Coffman
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1145
Joined: Sep 10, 2005 12:07 am
Location: Grants Pass, Oregon
  

Re: What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby alfred1 » Nov 6, 2015 9:46 am

tempCaveQuestion wrote:I have several cave formations.

Image

They were donated to a thrift store, and I purchased them. After having purchased them, I read up and it looks like there are state and federal laws in place related to possessing and buying/selling these things.

Based on the rough condition, and that they were donated, there is a good chance these were taken a long time ago. But I have literally zero actual information about them. So I have no idea when they were obtained, or from where.

So, I have financial, legal and moral concerns. Financially, if they are worth money I would prefer to sell them because I need the money. Or, I can see about donating them somewhere, such as a school or museum. If donated, I need some way to appraise them.

I welcome all thoughts and opinions on the situation.

Thanks,


I wouldn't have bought them. Economically speaking it's demand that creates offer, so if all people stopped buying cave formations, people would stop collecting them completely or at least those who do so to get an income would stop (and trust me money are a big incentive).
Now it's up to you about what doing to them but unfortunately you're about as guilty morally as those selling them, since it's people buying that make people pick rocks and sell them. :shrug:
alfred1
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Nov 5, 2015 7:32 pm
  

Re: What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby NZcaver » Nov 9, 2015 8:01 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:There's certainly no moral reason that you should get rid of them. Since you weren't involved in removing them from the cave, the only thing you need to worry about is the influence a sale may have on onlookers. If you sell on Ebay, for example, there is a real possibility that someone may get the idea that they can make an easy buck snatching formations. This is partly why there have been many interventions by cavers in the online (and sometimes legally legitimate) sale of speleothems, as can be seen by searching this forum.

First consider what is right and wrong, then consider what is legal, and worry about your finances last.

Excellent advice, and I agree.

tempCaveQuestion wrote:I have several cave formations.

They were donated to a thrift store, and I purchased them. After having purchased them, I read up and it looks like there are state and federal laws in place related to possessing and buying/selling these things.

Based on the rough condition, and that they were donated, there is a good chance these were taken a long time ago. But I have literally zero actual information about them. So I have no idea when they were obtained, or from where.

So, I have financial, legal and moral concerns. Financially, if they are worth money I would prefer to sell them because I need the money. Or, I can see about donating them somewhere, such as a school or museum. If donated, I need some way to appraise them.

I welcome all thoughts and opinions on the situation.

Legally it is unlikely that any laws have been broken, unless it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that these specific items were stolen from private property or from public lands covered by the Federal Cave Resource Protection Act or other state/local laws.

Morally, most cavers balk at the sight of cave formations being bought, sold, traded, displayed, handled, or breathed on with too much gusto by anybody. If I were you, I would either keep what you bought or donate them for educational or scientific use. The fact that you researched and found their may be legal ramifications and then you went ahead and asked strangers in the caving community for advice speaks to your good character, I think.
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6316
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: CCG
  

Re: What to do with obtained cave formations?

Postby ohiocaver » Nov 16, 2015 8:23 pm

The ethics of the speleothem situation make for interesting discussion. Stephen Bishop and other guides at Mammoth Cave encouraged people to scrawl their names on cave walls and, in some cases, to “buy” a souvenir formation. Yet it was a reflection of their times and their immediate environment.
Anyone who has read history has wondered how thinking, moral men like Thomas Jefferson could own slaves. Yet it was a reflection of their times and their immediate environment.
Today, many people drive gas-hogs, or drive into work alone rather than take public transportation, or drive long distances for trivial reasons (like bouncing an 80-foot pit) – all of which consumes fossil fuel, spews pollution, and cheats future generations of resources. Yet, that is a reflection of our time and our ethics. Almost surely, future generations will condemn us just as we condemn owning other people or owning speleothems.
But if you’re going to hell for owning a speleothem, at least you’ll meet some fascinating people to chat with down there! :laughing:
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 316
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  


Return to Speleology Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users