How many known caves in each state?

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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Evan G » Jan 24, 2008 9:28 pm

Oh Man, Alaska beat us not only in population but caves too!!!! :doh:
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 24, 2008 9:39 pm

I'm posting this as an addendum. The info Dick sent me included the top counties by state but I'm keeping that under wraps so I can get a head start :rofl:

However I thought his comments were too interesting to not share....

This is the NSS Cave File's tally of all the caves on
file. These are caves to which there is some sort
of reference either as hard copy in some 19,000
manila folders in 16 file cabinets, in 46 volumes
of the NSS's SpeleoDigest books, and in various
books such as Caves of Indiana.
The actual computer listing with 53801 caves
changes daily as I get new data from grottos around
the country.
The number of caves in a county is an approximate
indicator of the county's rank. What really counts to
cavers is the caves per square mile which tells you
if that county is really good caving terrain. The top
state is Tennessee with its 9285 caves but the
the top county is Alabama's Jackson with 1921
caves, however Jackson is a large county which
takes its cave density down a bit to about third in
the US.
We go by Quadrangle maps of an area and in
White County, TN there is one 50 square mile
area on one Quad map with more than four caves
per square mile. Now that is real cave country!!!
Probably the worse area is in Wyoming's
Sweetwater County with one cave in its 10,492
square miles. That area is 1/3 of all of Indiana.
However, density does not always mean a whole
lot. South Dakota's Custer County only has 7 caves
five of which which are one to 5 miles long
but two of them are world class, Wind Cave
with 123 miles of passage and Jewel Cave with
with 129 miles of passage.
Edmonson County in Kentucky only has 68 caves
a dozen of which are 1-10 miles long, one at 32
miles, Fisher Ridge Cave at 110 miles, and then the
number one in the world by at least twice,
Flint Ridge System, in which the great Mammoth
Cave is merely an entrance of several to the system
which is now 365 miles long.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Evan G » Jan 24, 2008 9:46 pm

Probably the worse area is in Wyoming's Sweetwater County with one cave in its 10,492 square miles


Well .... it is mostly Granite and the core of the Rocky Mountains.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Tlaloc » Jan 24, 2008 11:32 pm

Evan wrote:
Probably the worse area is in Wyoming's Sweetwater County with one cave in its 10,492 square miles

Well .... it is mostly Granite and the core of the Rocky Mountains.


Evan:
Here is an online map which includes Sweetwater County;
http://ngmdb.usgs.gov/Prodesc/proddesc_1290.htm
As you can see, almost all of the rocks in the county are either the lower to middle Eocene Green River and Wasatch formations. These are lacustrine deposits well known for their beautiful fossil fish. A particularly good collection of these fossils can be seen at the museum at Fossil Butte National Monument:
http://www.nps.gov/archive/fobu/expanded/index.htm
Almost all of the other rocks in the county are cenozoic sedimentary rocks as well. There are some volcanic rocks at the Boars Tusk and the Leucite Hills. The nearest granite I know of is in the granite/greenstone belt at the south end of the Wind River Mountains, north of Sweetwater County. If there is any granite in the county, which I doubt, it might be in the bottom of Flaming Gorge.

There are only a few very modest Mountains in Sweetwater County: Steamboat Mountain and Oregon Buttes the northern Red Desert and Aspen Mountain and others south of Rock Springs. Sweetwater County is high desert, not mountains, with little or no granite.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby SDcaver » Jan 25, 2008 11:55 am

South Dakota currently has 325 caves.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Evan G » Jan 25, 2008 2:42 pm

Thanks Warren,

There are only a few very modest Mountains in Sweetwater County: Steamboat Mountain and Oregon Buttes the northern Red Desert and Aspen Mountain and others south of Rock Springs. Sweetwater County is high desert, not mountains, with little or no granite.


That jogged my memory. It has been a very long time since I have been in that neck of the woods. Boars Tusk, Eden Valley, Killpecker Sand Dunes, and the red desert, now I remember hunting in the area. I should have remembered the fish fossils. I was thinking a bit of Pathfinder, and the Divide which is north of Sweetwater County in Carbon County, but near the Sweetwater river. Oops, nice fishing in the area but not much for caves.

It is a big state with a lot of geological diveristy, I should not of generalized. :nono: :doh:

There might be some very small cave development in Adobe Town, but I can't think anything worth looking into in that part of the state. I'm personally staying alway from any phosphoria formation caves that may or may not be in that area.

Sorry :off topic:
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 1, 2008 9:25 pm

Hey Aaron.. update to the map?....
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Tom Gilleland » Feb 9, 2008 1:49 am

Arizona has 575 confirmed caves that are over 50 feet in length.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 10, 2008 5:22 am

list on page 5 updated with AZ
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Feb 10, 2008 5:42 pm

Wow very cool thread.
In my mind a cave is anything that have passages that achieves total darkness (during the day) once past the twilight zone.
Vertically; anything that requires rope and gear to get down/up in/out of.
I've been in short little caves that are quite fun but a one time visit kind of thing.
Done short drops requiring rope of at least 25 feet as well.

It seems that a general consensus needs to be brought together at the national level so that a reliable count can be measured.
Presumably there are hundreds, if not thousands of caves still waiting to be discovered in cave-rich states. Definitely more ridgewalking is needed. :grin:
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


http://ralph.rigidtech.com/albums.php
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Teresa » Feb 11, 2008 12:19 am

Ralph E. Powers wrote:It seems that a general consensus needs to be brought together at the national level so that a reliable count can be measured.


Why? And who wants to know? :rofl:
Ponder that question, and you will see why so many state surveys are not NSS affiliates nor do they share data with the NSS. There are two problems with any 'definitive number' or reliable count:1) how would one independently verify that all reported caves exist (some surveys are working their way through their caves collecting GPS coordinates, so that they can verify their own caves, but what outside body would or could deal with all the various landowners out there to have a verified count (just like UN inspectors often get nowhere with looking for nuclear or chemical weapons) and 2) to what end would the information be put? Is it meaningful to compare Mammoth in Kentucky with a 25 footer of equal historical impact in another state? Are pits caves? Some never go to twlight. Are divable springs caves? Sometimes they seem to count as caves, and sometimes not. The cave divers sure call them caves.

I don't think we'll ever come up with a uniform cave definition which will please everyone, and lacking that definition, nor any way to independently document every cave on private land ,the point of how many is moot.
Best wishes
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Scott Shaw » Feb 11, 2008 11:03 am

Here are the latest stats for Alabama:

We are up to cave number 4270, but with numbers being retired due to duplicates and errors, the actual number of caves in Alabama is 4,165.

Some interesting facts:
Caves over 1-mile in length - 89
Caves 200' and deeper - 140
County with most caves - Jackson (1872 caves) :yikes:

Definition of a cave in Alabama: 50' long or 50' in depth, or a combination of length plus depth totalling 50'.
Alabama Cave Survey - Cave Files Director (Send me your new caves and updates)
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 11, 2008 6:35 pm

AL updated on page 5
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Scott Parvin » Feb 12, 2008 11:52 am

Scott Shaw wrote:Here are the latest stats for Alabama:

We are up to cave number 4270, but with numbers being retired due to duplicates and errors, the actual number of caves in Alabama is 4,165.

Some interesting facts:
Caves over 1-mile in length - 89
Caves 200' and deeper - 140
County with most caves - Jackson (1872 caves) :yikes:

Definition of a cave in Alabama: 50' long or 50' in depth, or a combination of length plus depth totalling 50'.


Thanks Scott, we appreciate your hard work updating the ACS files.
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Disclaimer -- Views expressed are mine and do not reflect the opinion of the NSS or Board of Governors.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 12, 2008 5:47 pm

I realized I had updated the WRONG list the last 2 times so I redid it and am reposting here
the 1st number is the NSS cave files number which records data down to the county level. the 2nd number is the "cavechat" number. I also encourage any data custodians to update their info with dick blenz the NSS cave files guru if your numbers are off.

# OF CAVES BY STATE

ALASKA 510 /
ALABAMA 4306 / 4165
ARKANSAS 437 /
ARIZONA 575 /
CALIFORNIA 1807 /
COLORADO 583 /
CONNECTICUT 190 /
DELAWARE 3 / 1
FLORIDA 251 / 1300
GEORGIA 581 / 1600
HAWAI'I 1776 /
IDAHO 229 /
ILLINOIS 308 /
INDIANA 3423 / 3200
IOWA 498 /
KANSAS 412 /
KENTUCKY 1102 / 5200
LOUISIANA 7 / 1-10
MAINE 228 /
MARYLAND 179 / 150
MASSACHUSETTS 199 /
MICHIGAN 49 /
MINNESOTA 216 /
MISSISSIPPI 50 / 32
MISSOURI 2270 / 6210
MONTANA 349 /
NEBRASKA 5 /
NEVADA 185 /
NEW HAMPSHIRE 188 /
NEW JERSEY 87 / 100
NEW MEXICO 2156 /
NEW YORK 767 /
NORTH CAROLINA 109 / 1300
NORTH DAKOTA 4 /
OHIO 216 /
OKLAHOMA 508 /
OREGON 303 /
PENNSYLVANIA 1954 / 1500
RHODE ISLAND 4 / 1
SOUTH CAROLINA 173 / 500
SOUTH DAKOTA 138 / 325
TENNESSEE 9285 / 9000
TEXAS 5872 /
UTAH 357 /
VIRGINIA 4339 / 4378
VERMONT 227 /
WASHINGTON 473 /
WISCONSIN 367 /
WEST VIRGINIA 4740 / 4700
WYOMING 349 / 386
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