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An Introduction to the NSS Section of Cave Geology and Geography
by George Veni

The NSS Section of Cave Geology and Geography is the NSS's oldest Section and over the past 30 years has generally functioned as a forum for the exchange of cave geoscience information and the interaction of geoscientists. This is not to say that non-degreed persons are not welcome. In fact, it's just the opposite. Cave science is largely based on the explorations and observations of the average caver (which describes most degreed Section members when you strip away the degrees), who often has a strong interest in the geosciences and makes many and substantive contributions. This aspect of caving/cave science makes the Section a group that is heavy on the degrees and related “big science,” yet just as comfortable with low key science and cave science education.

The Section is active in several ways. For example, in 1997 it sponsored an "Interactions of Karst Geology and Ecology" symposium for the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting, and in 2001 we wrote “Living with Karst: a fragile foundation,” an environmental education booklet on karst that was published by the American Geological Institute (copies can be ordered from www.agiweb.org). Each year at NSS Convention we give a workshop or symposium on some aspect of cave geoscience that is geared to be interesting and informative for geologists and non-geologists alike. Topics of recent years' include karst hydrology, karst geology of the Guadalupe Mountains , cave paleontology, karst environmental management, vulcanospeleology, karst geo-microbiology, pseudokarst, and GIS and digital mapping of karst areas.

Each year at NSS Convention the Section hosts the Geology & Geography Session for the presentation of new research, and between the morning and afternoon sessions we have a luncheon to conduct our annual business meeting. The meetings are a great place to network, and we get a lot done without the formality and stuffiness of many science groups – again, we are cavers after all.

Certainly the most frequent and tangible benefit of Section membership is its newsletter GEO 2 . Published three times a year, articles range considerably in scope – from works in progress to minor, finished research topics like expanded versions of conference papers previously published only in abstract form (major, complete research papers are encouraged to be submitted to the NSS's Journal of Cave and Karst Studies). Regular GEO 2 features include “The Karst Researchers' Calendar,” various conference reports, abstracts from conferences and of recent karst theses and dissertations, and titles of recent karst-related papers in non-karst journals. We welcome contributions to GEO 2 and would be glad to work with you in submitting material for publication. Feel free to send material or questions to Editor Jo Schaper at: joschaper@socket.net

This last item is the essence of the Section. An active, interesting, productive, and fun organization is one where there is a dynamic exchange and input of people, their ideas, and energies. Membership is open to anyone. You don't have to be an academic to join or enjoy the benefits. If you are interested, send a check payable to Section Treasurer:

Tony Troutman
P.O. Box 821106

Houston , Texas 77282-1106

The cost of dues is $6/year if want GEO 2 sent to you only by e-mail as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file (a commonly used format that is read by the Acrobat Reader that can be downloaded for free from www.adobe.com. If you prefer receiving a paper copy of GEO 2 mailed to you, or to receive a paper and digital copy, then the cost of dues is $12/year. Include your address, phone number, e-mail address, NSS membership number (NSS membership is not required, although encouraged), and indicate if you have a degree in the geological or geographical sciences (needed for administrative purposes).

If you have any questions about the Section or would like to lead or help out with some of its projects, feel free to contact me.

George Veni

Executive Secretary

NSS Section of Cave Geology and Geography

11304 Candle Park

San Antonio , Texas 78249-4421




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