The Wasatch Grotto is a chapter of the National Speleological Society, a national organization with over 12,000 members that encourages the study, exploration, and conservation of cave and karst resources. The NSS and member Grottos work to protect access to caves, encourage responsible cave management, and promote responsible caving.

Everyone is welcome to our meetings and to come cave with us!

Upcoming Grotto meeting:

Date: December 12th, Monday.
Time: 7pm
Location:TBD
Presentation: Christmas Party 2016!

Goshute Cave Trip Nov 26

From Joe,
Last minute trip to goshute next saturday (11/26) – a friend and her two sons want to go.   If anybody is interested, will be leaving saturday morning at 0600 from west point, probably getting to cave parking lot about 1030 and heading up.

If you are interested in going,  contact Joe via cell at 801-651-4992.

White Nose Washington

Earlier this year White Nose was discovered for the first time in the Pacific North-west. This is disheartening news.

White Nose Syndrome
Generalized spatiotemporal spread of Pseudogymnoascus destructans across North America since the initial detection of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in New York in 2006. Map from http://msphere.asm.org.

The question begs: what can we do more to prevent this spread? Obviously we can stop visiting caves. But are there steps we can take before we reach that conclusion? What do you think?

From the article:

On 11 March 2016, a moribund little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) was found in King County, WA (United States), and submitted to a local wildlife rehabilitation center. The animal presented with dried and contracted areas of crusted skin on the wings and died 2 days later. Swab samples of the wings were positive for P. destructans by real-time PCR (8), and the bat was confirmed to have WNS in accordance with defined histopathologic criteria (9). An isolate of P. destructanswas obtained by culturing a portion of wing skin on Sabouraud dextrose agar containing chloramphenicol and gentamicin at 13°C.

In eastern North America, P. destructans appears to be spreading clonally, with all isolates exhibiting no genetic diversity at the markers examined (10). However, isolates of the fungus from Europe display significant genetic variation (11). To determine whether the isolate of P. destructans from Washington matched the clonal lineage from eastern North America, we conducted whole-genome sequencing using the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine (PGM) on the Washington isolate (NWHC#27099-001), as well as on three additional isolates of P. destructans from eastern North America. These isolates originated from M. lucifugus bats collected in Albany County, NY, in 2008 (NWHC#20631-008) and in Iowa County, WI, in 2016 (NWHC#26994-002) and a tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) in Jackson County, AL, in 2015 (NWHC#44797-145).

Please read the full report at msphere.org, the online journal for the American Society of microbiology.

 

Salt Lake Grotto Wins Speleo-Millionaire

We had an awesome night, Nov 2nd, eating mexican food and answering caving trivia. It was a close match between the two grottos, who each selected four champions to represent them. But when the dust settled, and the food was gone, Salt Lake emerged victorious!

Wasatch gave a good showing, and promised a rematch next year. Until then, everyone keep reading and studying. Especially brush up on your local grotto history!

Cave of Crystals, Video 01

I want to start a new segment here at the Wasatch Grotto. I love photo and video. After all, it is what I do for work. So I want to share cool cave videos and photos I come across. It will diversify the information on our site: news, studies, discoveries, and videos.

For now, once a month I’ll post a video about caves. I hope you enjoy them, like I do.

For the first several videos, I’m going to focus on the Cave of Crystals, in mexico. This Cave is connected to the Naica Mine and has the largest crystals in the world. Here is a behind the scenes edit, by host Nik Halik, of a the documentary, just to wet your whistle.

Pleistocene Beringian Wolf Migration

This summer research was being done in the Natural Trap Cave(NTC), that some of us here in Utah got to help out with. Earlier this year a study by Julia  A Meachen, Alexandria L. Brannick,  and Trent J. Fry on the Beringian Wolf, fossils found at NTC, was released. It is a fascinating read.

Abstract

Pleistocene diversity was much higher than today, for example there were three distinct wolf morphotypes (dire, gray, Beringian) in North America versus one today (gray). Previous fossil evidence suggested that these three groups overlapped ecologically, but split the landscape geographically. The Natural Trap Cave (NTC) fossil site in Wyoming, USA is an ideally placed late Pleistocene site to study the geographical movement of species from northern to middle North America before, during, and after the last glacial maximum. Until now, it has been unclear what type of wolf was present at NTC. We analyzed morphometrics of three wolf groups (dire, extant North American gray, Alaskan Beringian) to determine which wolves were present at NTC and what this indicates about wolf diversity and migration in Pleistocene North America. Results show NTC wolves group with Alaskan Beringian wolves. This provides the first morphological evidence for Beringian wolves in mid-continental North America. Their location at NTC and their radiocarbon ages suggest that they followed a temporary channel through the glaciers. Results suggest high levels of competition and diversity in Pleistocene North American wolves. The presence of mid-continental Beringian morphotypes adds important data for untangling the history of immigration and evolution of Canis in North America.

Read their complete and thorough study at Ecology and Evolution.com.

New Mexico: Carlsbad Cavern

Have you been down to the caves in New Mexico yet? Here is an awesome article about Carlsbad Caverns. This was published in New Zealand of all places. They did a great job capturing the majesty of the caves!

The Carlsbad caves were formed over millennia and need careful curation to balance care and access. Photo / 123RF
The Carlsbad caves were formed over millennia and need careful curation to balance care and access. Photo / 123RF

“Caves are like the unknown,” Joop says. “Since I can’t go to the moon and explore other planets, this is the last unknown realm on the planet. We’ve gone to the highest peaks and everything, but there’s so much yet to be found and explored here underground.”

More than 400,000 people visit the Carlsbad Caverns each year to get a glimpse of the monumental stalagmites and stalactites, delicate soda straws, translucent draperies and reflective pools that decorate the park’s main attraction, the Big Room. But few experience the more extreme tour through Lower Cave or a lantern-lit history lesson in Left Hand Tunnel.

Even fewer people get to crawl through the Hall of the White Giant and Spider Cave, which are the most difficult – and quickly booked – of the ranger-guided caving tours.

Read the full article at NZ Herald.