How many known caves in each state?

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Postby robcountess » Mar 15, 2008 7:46 pm

ian mckenzie wrote:Canadian Rockies are up to about 300; probably over a thousand on Vancouver Island.



Yeah we had a database with over 900 entries and those are just the one's VICEG (Vancouver Island Cave Exploration Group) is aware of. The logging companies probably have found another 900.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Caving Guru » Jul 29, 2014 7:44 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:
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.


So according to wyandottecaver, Jackson County, Alabama has the most caves of any county in the United States but it has the third highest cave density of any county in the United States. Does anyone know which counties have the second and first highest cave densities in the United States?
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jul 29, 2014 9:21 pm

I would guess that Van Buren and White Counties, TN, rank quite highly, but it's been a while since I walked around and counted the caves. Again, this is only a guess. I had a look at my atlas, and Van Buren County is only about an inch big. Jackson is about four times it's size. I've been in about 8 caves in VBC, not too bad for one square inch, that's at least around 32,115,916,800 per square mile. Too bad VBC is so small...

Also, I wasn't reading this forum thirty-seven years ago when this topic was active, but since I'm mouthing off now I'll mention that the 216 number from Ohio is far too small. The problem (a genuine real-life tragedy) is that in states with no official survey, the "data custodians", if they exist, may not be actively seeking input from cavers, or may not be known to cavers. How many "known" caves? Depends on who you ask. I don't know what the NSS files for Ohio consist of, but I personally know of more than 216 Ohio caves, and have toured about 150 of them, including 100+ in one county alone.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby trogman » Jul 30, 2014 9:20 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:I would guess that Van Buren and White Counties, TN, rank quite highly, but it's been a while since I walked around and counted the caves. Again, this is only a guess. I had a look at my atlas, and Van Buren County is only about an inch big. Jackson is about four times it's size. I've been in about 8 caves in VBC, not too bad for one square inch, that's at least around 32,115,916,800 per square mile. Too bad VBC is so small...

Also, I wasn't reading this forum thirty-seven years ago when this topic was active, but since I'm mouthing off now I'll mention that the 216 number from Ohio is far too small. The problem (a genuine real-life tragedy) is that in states with no official survey, the "data custodians", if they exist, may not be actively seeking input from cavers, or may not be known to cavers. How many "known" caves? Depends on who you ask. I don't know what the NSS files for Ohio consist of, but I personally know of more than 216 Ohio caves, and have toured about 150 of them, including 100+ in one county alone.



Sounds like a great project for you to take on; ie, start up an Ohio Cave Survey (OCS) group. You already have a large amount of data in your personal files, which would be a good starting point. Look at what other state survey groups do, how they are set up as far as rules and guidelines, etc., and solicit advice from their officers. I'm sure Lin Guy with the ACS would be be glad to offer some ideas, as would most of our other cave survey officers.

I know it would be a big project, but at least you could start off on a good foundation. With the AL Cave Survey, we have many years of faulty data to contend with, whether it be faulty locations, or erroneous lengths and descriptions, not to mention probably a number of duplicate entries. With today's GPS technology, you could at least be pretty confident with the reported locations.

That's something to keep in mind when calculating cave densities and number of caves per state. No one really has any idea how many of Alabama's 4500+ caves are actually legit; same deal with Tennessee's 9000+ caves. And then you have the added caveat that TN uses a different (and less stringent) standard as to what qualifies as a "cave." That might explain why they have so many more caves than their neighbors. :big grin: GA uses an even less stringent standard, but with a lot less cave-rich areas, they still only boast of around 600 caves.


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Edited to correct number of cave in TN.
Last edited by trogman on Jul 30, 2014 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby UnderGroundEarth » Jul 30, 2014 11:27 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:I would guess that Van Buren and White Counties, TN, rank quite highly, but it's been a while since I walked around and counted the caves. Again, this is only a guess. I had a look at my atlas, and Van Buren County is only about an inch big. Jackson is about four times it's size. I've been in about 8 caves in VBC, not too bad for one square inch, that's at least around 32,115,916,800 per square mile. Too bad VBC is so small...


As of the last Tennessee Cave Survey update:

White County has 1,170 caves
Van Buren has 834
Marion County has 660
Fentress County 655
Putnam County 575
and the list goes on...

Total caves in Tennessee as of the last update = 9,841
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby UnderGroundEarth » Jul 30, 2014 11:31 am

wyandottecaver wrote: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

TENNESSEE 9285 / 9000



As of the last Tennessee Cave Survey update, there are 9,841 caves in Tennessee.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby tncaver » Jul 30, 2014 12:56 pm

UnderGroundEarth wrote:As of the last Tennessee Cave Survey update, there are 9,841 caves in Tennessee.


In Tennessee, the data is usually higher immediately after it has been officially published due to more new caves being found. I found six new ones in one general location recently. However, some of the old locations need to be deleted as well. So the published data is almost always in a state of flux.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Caving Guru » Jul 30, 2014 2:52 pm

So based on the county totals that I currently am aware of (Jackson County, AL; counties in Tennessee with 38 or more caves; all the counties of West Virginia; all the counties of Virginia; and all the counties of Maryland), White County, TN has the highest cave density with 3.09 caves per square mile, Van Buren County, TN has the 2nd highest cave density with 3.03 caves per square mile, Jackson County, AL has the 3rd highest cave density with 1.70 caves per square mile, Putnam County, TN has the 4th highest cave density with 1.43 caves per square mile, and Greenbrier County, WV has the 5th highest cave density with 1.34 caves per square mile. If anyone has the county totals for any of the others that I didn't mention, I would be interested in hearing what those totals are so I could calculate more county cave densities. I would also be interested in a more updated total for Jackson County, Alabama (# based on January, 2008 data), West Virginia counties (#s based on August, 2011 data), Virginia counties (#s based on 1964 data), and Maryland counties (#s based on 1971 data).

And here is a Spreadsheet that I just made for the cave densities for each county that have caves for the states that I have the information available for which happen to be West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and the counties in Tennessee with 38 or more caves:


Image
Image
Last edited by Caving Guru on Jul 30, 2014 11:35 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jul 30, 2014 7:36 pm

trogman wrote:Sounds like a great project for you to take on; ie, start up an Ohio Cave Survey (OCS) group. You already have a large amount of data in your personal files, which would be a good starting point. Look at what other state survey groups do, how they are set up as far as rules and guidelines, etc., and solicit advice from their officers. I'm sure Lin Guy with the ACS would be be glad to offer some ideas, as would most of our other cave survey officers.


Ohio has had an on-and-off, informal survey since the '60s at least. The data has been passed around between several individuals, who have usually been those few who are active within the state. I would suspect that a fair amount of the old information is lost. I have mentioned the idea of helping with the creation of an official OCS to the caver who is currently holding much of the data, but I think she's too busy to consider it.

I was mostly joking about the great tragedy of poorly-organized Ohio data. The fact is that barely anyone would benefit from an exhaustive and up to date list. It would be nice, but I'd really rather draw maps and crawl than enter data and turn down data requests.


Edited to move the apostrophe in '60s. Boy that was close.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Bumbalawski » Jul 30, 2014 10:13 pm

The spreadsheet shows Allegany County Maryland with 23 caves. I can think of at least 43 caves. Washington County Maryland is most likely much higher also. We have not been to Garrett County Maryland yet, but we expect that number to rise greatly when we make it up there. Nice work on the spreadsheet.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Caving Guru » Jul 30, 2014 10:44 pm

Bumbalawski wrote:The spreadsheet shows Allegany County Maryland with 23 caves. I can think of at least 43 caves. Washington County Maryland is most likely much higher also. We have not been to Garrett County Maryland yet, but we expect that number to rise greatly when we make it up there. Nice work on the spreadsheet.


If you look at the spreadsheet for Maryland you will see that it says "1971 Data" which is the year that "Caves Of Maryland" by Richard Franz and Dennis Slifer was printed which I have a copy of. Thanks for the update for Allegany County, Maryland though. I would love to have more updated information for the counties and I would love to have information on counties that I do not have yet. Thanks in advance.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby trogman » Jul 31, 2014 7:18 am

Caving Guru wrote:So based on the county totals that I currently am aware of (Jackson County, AL; counties in Tennessee with 38 or more caves; all the counties of West Virginia; all the counties of Virginia; and all the counties of Maryland), White County, TN has the highest cave density with 3.09 caves per square mile, Van Buren County, TN has the 2nd highest cave density with 3.03 caves per square mile, Jackson County, AL has the 3rd highest cave density with 1.70 caves per square mile, Putnam County, TN has the 4th highest cave density with 1.43 caves per square mile, and Greenbrier County, WV has the 5th highest cave density with 1.34 caves per square mile. If anyone has the county totals for any of the others that I didn't mention, I would be interested in hearing what those totals are so I could calculate more county cave densities. I would also be interested in a more updated total for Jackson County, Alabama (# based on January, 2008 data), West Virginia counties (#s based on August, 2011 data), Virginia counties (#s based on 1964 data), and Maryland counties (#s based on 1971 data).

And here is a Spreadsheet that I just made for the cave densities for each county that have caves for the states that I have the information available for which happen to be West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and the counties in Tennessee with 38 or more caves:


Image
Image


The latest data for Jackson County, AL, has 1992 known caves. That's about 1.77 caves per square mile. It's hard to compete with White County, TN, which has almost twice that number per sq. mi. Maybe we Alabama folks should start counting those 30' pits! :grin:


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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Caving Guru » Jul 31, 2014 3:01 pm

So that means that 71 new caves have been discovered in Jackson County, Alabama since January, 2008. Thanks for the update, trogman.
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby Caving Guru » Jul 31, 2014 7:59 pm

I just found my Caves of Pennsylvania book so here is the Spreadsheet for the cave densities by county for Pennsylvania that I just finished:

Image
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Re: How many known caves in each state?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jul 31, 2014 10:06 pm

Greg, have a look at the VSS website if you want more up-to-date stats for VA. I compared a few counties with your spreadsheet: Tazewell 58 - 159, Russell 58 - 292, Wise 33 - 129, Smyth 62 - 176 etc. etc. You can see stats per county by going to on Project Areas and clicking on the map. http://www.virginiacaves.org/
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