Cave Formation on Sale on EBay

Cave conservation issues, techniques, questions. Also visit the NSS Cave Conservation and Management Section.

Moderator: Moderators

Cave Formation on Sale on EBay

Postby pedenpeden » Dec 22, 2006 12:00 pm

If you go to eBay and put the item number 200061001348 in the search box, it brings up a page showing a large formation. The seller claims that it was taken from a New Mexico cave on private land.

Dan Peden
pedenpeden
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Oct 22, 2005 10:06 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, Pa.
  

Postby volica » Dec 22, 2006 12:28 pm

well, according to http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/artifacts.html there is nothing to be done. However, how can one distinguish speleoform from private land?
User avatar
volica
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Sep 13, 2006 5:28 pm
Location: Northern Virginia
NSS #: 57781
  

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 22, 2006 12:56 pm

Interesting photos too. Tattoos on his feet!? The one with the cat head!?
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
User avatar
Scott McCrea
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 3:07 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA
NSS #: 40839RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Flittermouse Grotto
  

Postby erebus » Dec 22, 2006 1:32 pm

I thought this issue was brought up to eBay several years ago, and they agreed to prohibit sales of speleothems. Is my memory faulty?
erebus
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 203
Joined: Sep 25, 2005 4:54 pm
NSS #: 6752
  

Postby Steven Johnson » Dec 22, 2006 3:15 pm

erebus wrote:I thought this issue was brought up to eBay several years ago, and they agreed to prohibit sales of speleothems. Is my memory faulty?


No, it's still prohibited. I just flagged it. Go to "Report this item" at the bottom, then choose "Prohibited", then "Artifacts", then "Cave formations (speleothems, stalactites, and stalagmites)"... then click on the "EMail us" link, log in (if necessary) and send the notice.
User avatar
Steven Johnson
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 8:48 pm
Location: Oakland, CA
NSS #: 49562
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Diablo Grotto
  

Re: Cave Formation on Sale on EBay

Postby driggs » Dec 22, 2006 3:45 pm

pedenpeden wrote:If you go to eBay and put the item number 200061001348 in the search box, it brings up a page showing a large formation. The seller claims that it was taken from a New Mexico cave on private land.


According to a 10-minute Internet search...

The seller is Leigh Anne DelRay (of Colorado?). She is ~27 years old and sells meteorites and rocks on eBay for a living. She recently failed to ship out goods and pissed off some eBayers, resulting in negative feedback, which is presumably why she is using the new eBay user ID ("fossilsandrox", she also has a website called fossilsandrocks.com). Her cat can be seen in the background of one of the photos, and the first link below shows her holding another speleothem that she sold.

http://members.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl ... raygoddess

http://myworld.ebay.com/delraygoddess/

http://www.delraygoddess.com/

http://www.fossilsandrocks.com/

What exactly are the laws concerning caves in NM or on federally-owned caves like Carlsbad or Lech?
User avatar
driggs
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 495
Joined: Sep 12, 2005 9:40 pm
Location: State of Jefferson
Name: David A. Riggs
NSS #: 56189
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Monongahela
  

Postby wendy » Dec 22, 2006 4:23 pm

Is this the ebay auction for the 120 lb piece of cave popcorn? I have been reporting it to ebay every time they put it up for auction. Every week I get on ebay and report all the, as i see them, questionable cave formation sells. I don't think they can ban formations that were brought in from mexico, etc. But all the others I report on a weekely basis.
User avatar
wendy
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1527
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 10:51 am
Location: florida
Name: Wendy
NSS #: 53923
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Flint River Grotto
  

Postby Steven Johnson » Dec 22, 2006 4:26 pm

wendy wrote:Is this the ebay auction for the 120 lb piece of cave popcorn? I have been reporting it to ebay every time they put it up for auction. Every week I get on ebay and report all the, as i see them, questionable cave formation sells. I don't think they can ban formations that were brought in from mexico, etc. But all the others I report on a weekely basis.


They can ban anything they want. Even if it's legal to sell, eBay doesn't have to give people a venue for selling it. And speleothems are explicitly listed as a prohibited item on their own complaint form.
User avatar
Steven Johnson
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 8:48 pm
Location: Oakland, CA
NSS #: 49562
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Diablo Grotto
  

Postby driggs » Dec 22, 2006 4:34 pm

wendy wrote:Every week I get on ebay and report all the [cave formations], as i see them, Questionable cave formation sells. I don't think they can ban formations that were brought in from mexico, etc. But all the others I report on a weekely basis.


Thank you!

:kewl:
User avatar
driggs
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 495
Joined: Sep 12, 2005 9:40 pm
Location: State of Jefferson
Name: David A. Riggs
NSS #: 56189
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Monongahela
  

Re: Cave Formation on Sale on EBay

Postby Teresa » Dec 22, 2006 5:03 pm

driggs wrote:

What exactly are the laws concerning caves in NM or on federally-owned caves like Carlsbad or Lech?


Federal lands managed by Agriculture and Interior (except for DoD and some Indian reservations) come under no removal of materials without specific permits being issued, under the FCRPA of 1989. Permitted removals would be such things as material removed under a permitted and supervised cave restoration, small amounts for scientific research purposes, or during the course of approved construction (say, if material was blasted to straighten a dangerous walkway in Carlsbad or such.) Permitted removals from federal land do NOT include commercial sale of the materials or for souvenirs, though they might be transferred to universities, museums or such. Generally, under standard research permits, materials taken must be returned or destroyed, not squirreled away somewhere.

New Mexico Cave Protection Act: http://www.delrioabogados.com/Espeleolex/new.htm

Most state cave laws *have* to put in a provision that speleothem removal by or with the permission of the landowner is legal, since otherwise the laws run afoul of private property rights. If an owner then sells stal, well--there is nothing much one can do about it legally--it is his property. Just moral outrage is about it. But if it is stolen property, it is stolen property. The problem is most rock specimens do not have a conveyance of legal title, and it is very hard to determine if a particular specimen out of a cave is really from that cave, that it was obtained legally, etc. (like the papers which come with Native American artifacts and manufactured pieces these days.

Also, as I have repeated many times before: not all cave looking specimens actually come from caves, and only those specimens which actually come from caves (not vugs or mines) are protected.
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Postby hewhocaves » Dec 23, 2006 10:37 am

I understand many cave laws prohibit the removal of cave formations within a state. Why aren't there sections of cave laws associated with the sale of cave formations within that state?

I mean, you can prohinit beer sales (dry counties) even if the beer is out of state - so formations should be the same thing.

Maybe its tiem to go and revisit those cave laws and ammend them!

john
The NSS and WNS: Cooperation, not confrontation.
User avatar
hewhocaves
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Morgantown WV
Name: John Tudek
NSS #: 36021
Primary Grotto Affiliation: MonGrotto
  

Postby Teresa » Dec 23, 2006 4:25 pm

John
Amending cave laws to remove landowner rights to do what they want with their private property isn't going to fly in any legislature, especially in 'cave' states. I know, I live in a so-called cave AND 'red' state (is that why red water is coming out of a cave in Springfield?)

You've mentioned you're getting a fine geological education. Other than seeing a speleothem and a break in a cave, and matching the two while in the cave, or catching vandals with the goods on cave exit, do you have some other method to assure that broken off stal aren't from a quarry, mine, or vug-- places which are not protected even on federal land?
(That doesn't even begin to address other botryoidal or mammiform minerals, or even crystals which are found in caves, but aren't 'cave formations' per se. (You can be prosecuted for removing material from those environments, even on federal property (vandalism, taking or destroying federal property) but they are immune from prosecution under FCRPA.

I've been at this geology thing for 40 years now, and darned if I can tell if a speleothem looking rock is from a cave unless I go to the location. Any caver can make some good guesses, but good guesses aren't enough to hold up in court, especially with geologically illiterate judges, lawyers and juries.

I've personally confronted people selling stal at rock shows and new age shows. I've brought them copies of the law. Even if they originally say stal are from caves, they change their tune immediately and say, "oh, this is really from a quarry or mine,and I had permission." Then, it is my word against theirs.

I still think our best bet is to make stal collecting less desirable by friendly means, (talking with kids and rockhounds and dealers or like the exhibits they have of petrified wood mailed back to the Petrified Forest , and black sand and Pelee's tears mailed back to Hawaii).

By the way: in reply to your 'foreign beer' in dry counties argument: I remember when it was considered the most way cool thing to smuggle Coors Beer out of Colorado. Now that Coors is freely available, nobody I know drinks the stuff, because it's a pretty weak excuse for beer. Lessen the demand, 'delist' it, and the desirability falls.
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Postby hewhocaves » Dec 23, 2006 6:22 pm

Teresa,

see, I disagree completely. We regulate all sorts of things that happen on private land, from dumping to building to hunting to pot growing. I don't see how this is different. Nor do I accept that worn out excuse - it's my land, i can do whatever i want with it. You're a geologist, tell me what happens when AMD comes out of a mine updrainage of a well? Or what happens when your drawdown causes all the wells nearby to go dry?

And the law I'm suggesting does not prohibit the removal of speleothems, just the sale of them, which is far more leniant than any of the above. You can break all you want in your cave on your land, but the moment you try to sell a stal, regardless of where it came from, you're breaking the law.

And I dont' mean to suggest that we stop teh whole education aspect, but I firmly believe that education alone will NEVER be sufficient. An incident I had with a geology grad student in Friars Hole a month ago has convinced me of that. If six years of geology education is insufficient to convince a person that caves are fragile environments, then it is clear there will always be a segment of the population that will be unreachable. And since the turnover of homo sapiens is several orders of magnitude smaller than the turnover of formations, it logically follows that eventually every formation will be broken. The caves literally cannot keep up. Now it won't happen today, tomorrow or within the next few dozen lifetimes, but it will. It's possible that some people might not care about such *distant futures*, but the initial assesment for the american west was that it would take 1000 years to colonize. we did it in about 100.

john
The NSS and WNS: Cooperation, not confrontation.
User avatar
hewhocaves
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Morgantown WV
Name: John Tudek
NSS #: 36021
Primary Grotto Affiliation: MonGrotto
  

Postby Teresa » Dec 23, 2006 7:07 pm

First you have to be able to define and recognize without a doubt what it is you are selling or not selling. As I stated before, I really don't think the courts are up to figuring out what rock specimens are cave specimens and vice versa.

A person would also have to convince the legislature how such a statue would affect the public good in order for them to be willing to fund enforcement and the personal property people would jump right on this out here, assuming it is some sort of anti-mining law.

If you can reasonably answer those two objections, you might be able to get something through. Around here, very few people care anything about rocks if they can't make money from them.

In your hypothetical, what happens to acid mine drainage or in case of well drawdown depends a lot in what state you are in, and what water laws are in effect (which vary from state to state). In a lot of cases, there is no legal recourse other than civil lawsuit or legal negotiation for deprivation of resources, as there is no automatic penalty (at least in my state, which has poor groundwater law.)
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Postby hewhocaves » Dec 24, 2006 10:17 am

Teresa wrote:First you have to be able to define and recognize without a doubt what it is you are selling or not selling. As I stated before, I really don't think the courts are up to figuring out what rock specimens are cave specimens and vice versa.


in my view, its origin is irrelevent. if it's calcite, aragonite, or gypsum and takes on any of several layered forms (i.e. is not simply a crystalline expression of the mineral) commonly found in caves (eg. icicle, layered, drapery flower or helectitic) it cannot be sold. Provision could be made for crushed formation to be sold if its mixed in with limestone (i.e. as part of a quarrying operation). I think this is simple enough for even lawyers and judges to understand. If they can't grasp that, then i suspect the basic tenets of law are beyond them anyways.

A person would also have to convince the legislature how such a statue would affect the public good in order for them to be willing to fund enforcement and the personal property people would jump right on this out here, assuming it is some sort of anti-mining law.


Public good? Aesthetic value, for one. Non-renewable natural resources, for another. Again, we're not taking away the right to mine them, only to sell them. Consequently, all enforcement is done at point-of-sale. I don't think its that much of an inconvenience.

In your hypothetical, what happens to acid mine drainage or in case of well drawdown depends a lot in what state you are in, and what water laws are in effect (which vary from state to state). In a lot of cases, there is no legal recourse other than civil lawsuit or legal negotiation for deprivation of resources, as there is no automatic penalty (at least in my state, which has poor groundwater law.)


On the other hand, WV has very strict laws regarding AMD, especially in mines opened after 1974, (partly because we have some of the worst AMD sites in the nation) and it has some fairly good water pollution laws - considering the vast majority of the people in WV get their water from wells rather than city water. This doesn't mean that problems don't occur. Corruption and bad politics do a lot to make up the shortfall here. But at least there is some recourse for people harmed by these things beyond the shotgun approach.
The NSS and WNS: Cooperation, not confrontation.
User avatar
hewhocaves
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Morgantown WV
Name: John Tudek
NSS #: 36021
Primary Grotto Affiliation: MonGrotto
  

Next

Return to Conservation Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot]

cron