World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

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World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby nathanroser » Feb 17, 2013 8:45 pm

Got word that Mammoth Cave is officially now 400 miles long http://www.nps.gov/maca/parknews/mammoth-cave-400-miles.htm

Anyone in the loop with the CRF care to elaborate on what's been surveyed?
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Re: World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 17, 2013 9:37 pm

muddyface wrote:Anyone in the loop with the CRF care to elaborate on what's been surveyed?

The press releases I've read are pretty accurate in that the length has grown steadily with continued efforts to map remaining leads. There are expeditions every month, and a mix of new and resurvey is accomplished with some regularity. I'm only on the periphery of the data management, but I've heard that the official length has had an error bar around it for a long time. Surveys in the cave date back more than 50 years, and there are complex multi-level areas that have been resurveyed many times for a variety of reasons. That, combined with turnover in cartographers, has led to uncertainty about redundancy in some areas. At the same time there are hanging surveys where the tie-ins have been lost. They believe the redundant and hanging surveys roughly offset, but this still leads to some loss of precision. You will probably hear announcements when the length has grown by another 10 miles, but nobody can say exactly when or where the 400th mile was surveyed. Steady progress is being made to resolve these data problems and raise the overall quality of the sketches and cartography. As time goes on there will be better and better certainty around the precise length.
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Re: World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby Aaron Addison » Feb 18, 2013 10:42 pm

Derek's assessment is spot on.

(sent to you from inside the loop)

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Re: World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby Roppelcaver » Feb 20, 2013 12:29 pm

I only disagree with the comment "Remaining Leads", which suggests things are winding down. Indeed, leads are tougher, but there are still a lot of leads and many discoveries await, including possible breakthroughs.

Certainly some parts of the system are more mature lead-wise (like Flint Ridge and Mammoth), but the edges continue to be pushed outward. Roppel still grows, and south Toohey Ridge (still) beckons. We have felt like we have been close for a long time, but trips are long and it is hard to work through the snarls of cave passage. The good news is that this is all mapped and is making the cave longer.

The southern and western part of the system (i.e., Joppa Ridge and nearby ridge/valleys) are another frontier that is seeing lots of productive work. Mammoth continues to grow also. And there is the NW end of Roppel that appears to hold many surprises.

Then there are the opportunities for possible connections.

Mammoth will grow for a very long time and get much longer.
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Re: World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby MUD » Feb 20, 2013 1:09 pm

:big grin: The whispering cave winds have said Fisher Ridge is connected but for some reason it's not official?
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Re: World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 20, 2013 2:38 pm

Roppelcaver wrote:I only disagree with the comment "Remaining Leads", which suggests things are winding down.

I've only been working on the remaining leads. I got scooped on the others. I've been working under the assumption that one of the remaining leads has the highest probability of leading to the yet undiscovered leads. Maybe I should try a different approach.
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Re: World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby Roppelcaver » Feb 20, 2013 5:57 pm

Yes, all leads are remaining leads I suppose! Just took the opportunity to point out that there is a long way to go.

And, the rumors of the Fisher Ridge Connection endure.
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Re: World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby caverdan » Feb 21, 2013 1:54 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
muddyface wrote:Anyone in the loop with the CRF care to elaborate on what's been surveyed?

The press releases I've read are pretty accurate in that the length has grown steadily with continued efforts to map remaining leads. There are expeditions every month, and a mix of new and resurvey is accomplished with some regularity. I'm only on the periphery of the data management, but I've heard that the official length has had an error bar around it for a long time. Surveys in the cave date back more than 50 years, and there are complex multi-level areas that have been resurveyed many times for a variety of reasons. That, combined with turnover in cartographers, has led to uncertainty about redundancy in some areas. At the same time there are hanging surveys where the tie-ins have been lost. They believe the redundant and hanging surveys roughly offset, but this still leads to some loss of precision. You will probably hear announcements when the length has grown by another 10 miles, but nobody can say exactly when or where the 400th mile was surveyed. Steady progress is being made to resolve these data problems and raise the overall quality of the sketches and cartography. As time goes on there will be better and better certainty around the precise length.


If the survey is off by that much.....why not resurvey the cave?? :shrug: :argue:
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Re: World's Longest Cave Gets Longer

Postby JR-Orion » Feb 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
muddyface wrote:Anyone in the loop with the CRF care to elaborate on what's been surveyed?

The press releases I've read are pretty accurate in that the length has grown steadily with continued efforts to map remaining leads. There are expeditions every month, and a mix of new and resurvey is accomplished with some regularity. I'm only on the periphery of the data management, but I've heard that the official length has had an error bar around it for a long time. Surveys in the cave date back more than 50 years, and there are complex multi-level areas that have been resurveyed many times for a variety of reasons. That, combined with turnover in cartographers, has led to uncertainty about redundancy in some areas. At the same time there are hanging surveys where the tie-ins have been lost. They believe the redundant and hanging surveys roughly offset, but this still leads to some loss of precision. You will probably hear announcements when the length has grown by another 10 miles, but nobody can say exactly when or where the 400th mile was surveyed. Steady progress is being made to resolve these data problems and raise the overall quality of the sketches and cartography. As time goes on there will be better and better certainty around the precise length.


Thanks for the update!
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Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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