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Sandia Grotto Programs

Our caving club is dedicated to the exploration, conservation, and protection of caves.

We meet the first Tuesday of every month, 6:30 pm, at the location shown on our Home Page.

New members and visitors are always welcome.



The Sandia Grotto usually has an interesting program with a "Cave" flavor each month. When we know in advance the nature of the program we will post it here on our home page so that you can make plans to attend. Tthe program will be ipresented around 6:30 pm, before our regular business meeting. Everyone is welcome to stay and join us in that discussion as well as join us after 9:00 at a local establishent for additional trip planning.

Past Sandia Grotto Programs


July 6, 2021: Hunter Klein

Caves of Colorado


June 1, 2021: Ray Keeler

“Working with the Federal Land Managers – the NSS Government Liaison Committee”


May 4, 2021: Ellen and Foz Trautner

Cave Diving


April 6, 2021: Knutt Peterson

BLM 2021 Permitting for Fort Stanton Cave and GypKap Projects

This will be a good opportunity to find out what's going on with these two caving projects


March 2, 2021: Jerry Atkinson

New Pseudokarst Area

Learn about a new pseudokarst area we explored and mapped a cave in back in early January


February 2, 2021: Sarah Truebe

National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) - What, Why, How?

Sarah is the Southwestern Regional Coordinator for the National Cave Rescue Commission. A friend taking a fall in a cave in 2010 led Sarah to realize how completely unprepared she was to respond to an actual underground emergency. Since then, she has joined a search and rescue team and either taken or taught in ~800 hours of cave rescue trainings. Sarah grew up caving with her family around Tucson, AZ, and spent three years as the Cave Resource Manager of Kartchner Caverns. She is excited to share more about the National Cave Rescue Commission in this presentation, which includes photos from the most recent training she attended in Texas in February 2020.


January 5, 2021: John Cochran

Mesilla Valley Grotto New Caver Training & MORE

John will present information on the Mesilla Valley Grotto’s New Caver training program that he participated in and also will share a photo or two from about 20 different caves - reminding us of the wonderful variety of caves here in New Mexico. John promises to make this an interesting show!


November 3, 2020: Dr. Penny Boston

What’s the Latest Scoop on Caves in the Solar System?

Overview of Recent Developments in Advancing Exospeleology

This might warm the cockles of both cavers and space nerds (and the overlap thereof).

After you vote today in the National elections, Grotto members will also vote on election of new officers for 2021.


October 6, 2020: Todd Roberts

Caves of Virginia

Todd caved in West Virginia before moving to New Mexico and
will share photos of some caves from the Virginia Region. For anyone
who doesn't know, Todd is an accomplished photographer, so his program
is sure to contain plenty of caver eye candy.


September 1, 2020: Diana Northup

Are Cave Pools Isolated Ecosystems?

Examining Who Lives in the Pools of Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave.

Diana is a leading researcher of cave microbes and other life forms. This will definitely be an interesting and informative
program, so join us for this talk at this zoom meeting if you can.

April 7 and May 5, 2020 plus following months:

Due to Covid-19 concerns, we did not meet at the Church. Instead the Grotto has been meeting on-line using the zoom meeting application. If you are on our mailing list, you should be getting email notices providing details on joining the virtual meeting. Others wishing to join our meeting can contact our Chairman for more information on how to join our meeting.

March 3, 2020: . . . . .

Ron Lipinski

Photogrammetry Tutorial & Demo

The program will also include a quick tour of the latest Caver Quest update, including some photogrammetry models.

February 4, 2020

Garrett Jorgensen

Snowy River Exploration


January 7, 2020

Mike Mansur

Restoration in Lechuguilla Cave plus an

Update on his speleothem repair work in other caves


November 5, 2019

Lois Manno and Minori Yoshida, with photos by Todd Roberts

Carlsbad Caverns Cable Camo Project

October 1, 2019

Dr. Dan Jones will be presenting

Energy, life, and Speleogenesis in the Sulfidic

Frasassi Cave System, Italy

September 3, 2019

Dr. Victor Polyak will be presenting

Geologic history of Fort Stanton Cave from 20-Steps to the Lake Room

August 6, 2019

Ron Lipinski, Expedition Leader for the Fort Stanton Summer Expedition, will be discussing the

Developments at the latest Ft. Stanton Cave Project

July 2, 2019

Our presentation for Tuesday night will be "Fumerolic ice caves on Mount Erebus, Antarctica" by Dr. Nelia W. Dunbar. She is the Director and State Geologist for the NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

June 5, 2019

Pete Lindsley, Ron Lipinski, and Scott Christianson will be our Guest Presenters for our June Grotto meeting. Expedition participants in the audience are invited to join as well. Their presentation is titled 

“Spring 2019 Expedition at Fort Stanton Cave


May 7, 2019

Dr. William Whitehead will present Aerial Speleology: Using hyperspatial UAV imagery to identify karst resources in southeast New Mexico . We will also be presenting Science Fair Awards to three recipients.


April 2, 2019

Annual Sandia Grotto Auction. Clean your garage and bring your donationed items. Funds from the auction will go to the Sandia Grotto for future activities.


March 5, 2019

Jordan Toles will be our Guest Presenter for our monthly Grotto meeting. His presentation is titled

“In Search of the World’s Deepest Cave –

Discoveries of the 2017 and 2018 Sistema Cheve Expeditions”


February 5, 2019

Kenneth Ingham presented "Cave Photos and Newer Gear for Taking Them"


January 8, 2019: Todd Roberts gave a presentation on

Photogrammetry Techniques in Caves

Photogrammetry involves taking multiple exposures with appropriate overlap between adjacent frames. Key features in the overall scene need to occur in at least 3 adjacent frames for the popular PhotoScan program to be able to automatically combine the overall scene into a 3D mesh which can then be processed into a virtual image of the cave passage. Todd passed out special 3D glasses with red and blue filters so that the audience could see the 3D cave images.

December 1, 2018: The Sandia Grotto hosted the SWR Winter Tech meeting where many grotto members made presentations.


Location Map for SWR Winter Tech

SWR Winter Tech

November 6, 2018

The New Mexico Cave Database: Current Progress and Future Additions

by Jerry Atkinson, Chair of the Southwest Region of the NSS

October 2, 2018:

Recent Exploration in Fort Stanton Cave - by Garrett Jorgensen, Sandia Grotto Chair

Exciting presentation of new discoveries yielding over 2.8 Km (1.7 miles) of new passage!

September 4, 2018:

The Carlsbad Cavern Cable Camo Project: Now You See Them, Now You Don't

By Lois Manno, Sandia Grotto member & Project Lead, discusses the

Carlsbad Cavern Cable Cover-up Project

August 7, 2018: - Ron Fields, Integrated Natural and Cultural Resource Specialist, Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

Examining Prehistoric Discoveries from Several Caves in the American Southwest

Ron will discuss four important New Mexico sites that have yielded perishable artifacts and shed light on the culture history of the American Southwest, in particular prehistoric atlatl/dart and bow/arrow technologies.

July 10, 2018: (Note: 2nd Tuesday) - An Overview and Survey Update on Galena King Mine

Matt Thompson, Friends of Galena King Mine

June 5, 2018: Dr. Dave Decker, Sandia Grotto member and owner of Southwest Geophysical Consulting, LLC

Dave will talk about locating caves from the surface using geophysical techniques.

May 1, 2018:

6:30 p.m.: The Effects of the Questa Molybdenum Mine on Its Ecosystem by Ian Campen, junior winner of the Sandia Grotto Award, Central New Mexico Science and Engineering Research Challenge

6:45 p.m.: Do Mine Spills Really Destroy the Environment? Phase III by Cameron Zielinski, senior winner of the Sandia Grotto Award, Central New Mexico Science and Engineering Research Challenge

7:00 p.m. - Volcanoes and Volcanic Landscapes of New Mexico by Dr. Larry Crumpler, Research Curator of Volcanology and Space Sciences at New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

April 3, 2018: Annual Grotto Auction

March 6, 2018: Lechuguilla: A Caver's Journey of HIstorical Highlights, Interesting Facts and Photos

by Sandia Grotto member and longtime Lech caver Mike Mansur

February 6, 2018: Dr. Diana Northup, currently a Visiting Associate Professor in the UNM Department of Biology, as well as Professor Emerita in the UNM College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences, is presenting...

Do the Microbes that Live on Bats Defend them Against Invaders?

January 9, 2018: Sandia Grotto Secretary Scott Christenson kicked off our year with a presentation on

Tennessee-Alabama-Georgia (TAG Caving)

December: Happy Holidays! No Meeting

November 7, 2017: Sandia Grotto Chair Garrett Jorgensen presented:

Recent Survey & Exploration in [big cave to the west to be announced , don't miss this one.]

October 3, 2017: Sandia Grotto member Jeannie Place presented:

A Wisconsin Show Cave: 75 years of History, Management, Tourists and Cavers

September 5, 2017: Sandia Grotto member Dave Decker held a clinic on

What to Keep in a Caving First Aid Kit

The clinic will be followed by the monthly business meeting.

August 1, 2017: Sean Lewis gave a presentation on

Recent Exploration in the Fisher Ridge Cave System in Kentucky.

July 11, 2017: Grotto Treasurer Ron Maehler presented a video montage (complete with soundtrack!) of caves he has visited.

Then, as requested, we held a workshop on The Basics of Cave Survey. We will introduce basic principles and instruments of survey, and give time to practice with the instruments. If you have survey gear (range finders, compasses, clinometers, sketch books), please bring them. The workshop will be followed by the monthly business meeting.

May 2, 6:30pm: Late Pleistocene Vertebrate Fossils from New Mexico Caves

by Gary Morgan, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History

April 4: no presentation - Annual Sandia Grotto Auction

(Bring quality items to sell and bucks to spend! This is the Grotto's primary fundraiser.)

March 7, 6:30pm: Studies Related to New Mexico Speleothems

by Victor Polyak, Sandia Grotto member and research scientist with University of New Mexico's Department of Earth and Planetary Science

January 10, 2017: Presented by Pete Lindsley: Fort Stanton Cave Study Project - 2016 Activities

Come join us and see some new photos of Lincoln Caverns, Decoration Passage, LIDAR, and Resistivity.

December - Annual Christmas Party

November 1, 2016: Scott Christenson: (short) Sandia Grotto Constitution Discussion


"Caving in Sotanos near Aquismon, SLP, Mexico, including: Cepillo, Golondrinas, Guaguas, Huasteca, and Cueva Linda."

October 4, 2016: Linda Starr: "Espeleo Cuba (Cuba Caving trip)"

September 6, 2016: Diana Northup: "Cave Microbiology"

August 2, 2016: Rod Horrocks, Carlsbad Caverns NP Cave Management Specialist:

"Resurrecting the Cave Resource Management Program at Carlsbad National Park"

June 7, 2016: Sebastian Benavidez, junior winner of Sandia Grotto Senior Award at STEM-H Science Fair:

"Graffiti Removal"

Dr. Tehnuka Ilanko, UNM postdoc:

"Fumarole Ice Caves of Mt. Erebus, Antarctica"

May 3, 2016: Joey Coston, winner of Sandia Grotto Senior Award at STEM-H Science Fair:

Portable Power Pack

Plus Linda Starr: Mayan Discovery Trip

April 5, 2016: Grotto Auction. Come join us for some fun and pick up some "deals"

March 1, 2016 Presentation: Garrett Jorgensen: New Discoveries in Carlsbad Cavern.

February 2, 2016 Presentation: by Justin Peinado

"Furthering discovery, documentation, and protection of caves at El Malpais National Monument - recent work and new goals". Justin will present interesting / new stuff to get everyone excited about helping the Park at El Malpais. There is plenty of exploration to be had!

Justin is a graduate student in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico. He is also an employee of the National Park Service and works at El Malpais National Monument.


Rev. 8-3-2021 E-mail Contact: Sandia Grotto of the NSS Contact: Webmaster