Fort Stanton Cave Study Project: Science


Bibliography: Fort Stanton Cave
This list is incomplete and you may be able to help us identify additional publications, presentations, documentaries, etc. that we can add to this list.
White Nose Syndrome: Decon at Fort Stanton Cave
WNS is a very serious disease that has been killing off bats in the Eastern states. If you come to a FSCSP project, expect to be asked if you have been in an infected area which you can discover HERE. We follow all the decontamination rules and usually have a state-of-the-art Hot Water Decon tank running at the HQ Building during an expedition. Additional WNS information is available HERE.
Woolly Mammoths and Fort Stanton Cave
Video Published on Nov 29, 2012 by Connect 111, the New Mexico PBS station
What killed off the massive Woolly Mammoth and reshaped the earth? Scientist Dr. Victor Polyak and Professor Yemane Asmerom find evidence from an unlikely place, deep below the earth's surface in Fort Stanton Cave, that points to climate change.
Weather Stations near Ft. Stanton
If you watch the video below you know that one of the main facets of Karst Topography is the rain and snow fall on the ground above the karst. At Fort Stanton we are fortunate to have Sierra Blanca just uphill from the karst and this peak attracts it's share of snow every winter. As the snow pack melts it feeds the nearby Rio Bonito which runs past the cave and finally joins some cave-fed springs including Government Spring. We use some of this weather station data to understand the ground water that interacts directly with the karst environment.
This 17:30 minute long educational presentation, produced by Dr. Albert Ogden at Middle Tennessee State University, is a very interesting video that discusses some of the unique environmental issues of karst limestone regions, the action of water runoff on the cave system below, the fragility of cave ecosystems, and also mentions some of the geophysical measurements that are being used to investigate karst areas including those in even dryer karst areas such as found at Fort Stanton.
Hydrology of the Fort Stanton Karst Area
Government Spring : Check back here as we add additional data and pictures. Following the July, 2012 flood (shortly after the June Little Bear fire in the Ruidoso area that burned ~ 38,000 acres and over 240 homes), Government Spring was covered with a foot of nasty black sludge that sealed the previously flowing spring. Plans are in work by the BLM to update the previous FSCSP weir just below the spring so that water flow can again be monitored.
We believe that at least some of the water that is "lost" along a stretch of Eagle Creek is a key part of the area hydrology. An observation was made on September 3, 2016, following a heavy rainstorm in the upper Eagle Creek area, and shows a potential insurgence to Snowy River. Several miles downstream from this area Eagle Creek was dry.
Snowy River Water: (Team members: we have some information currently mentioned in the Private section.)
Data Loggers
Temperature and Humidity Measurements : We continue to monitor data loggers in several caves and are working on showing new data as we correlate data from data loggers.
Water Data Loggers: During 2013 a dozen additional loggers were installed upstream from the spring along the 10 mile long Snowy River Passage. A special /Data section is available for interested scientists (Contact the webmaster for more information.)
Surface Events in the NCA
Meteorites: Thanks to some information from Jansen Lyons, we have a link to El Capitan Iron, on a meteorite that was found over 120 years ago, possibly near Fort Stanton. The reference is to a large “iron” meteorite (mass: 27.5kg) named “El Capitan” that “…was found by a Mexican sheep herder, Julian Jesu, in July, 1893…”. Jansen reports that he even held a slice of it in Tuscon while visiting the International Gem and Mineral shows in recent years. it appears that the coordinates listed on the Meteoritical Society web page point to the east side of the Fort Stanton NCA (there is a Google Maps link on the web page). So, it is possible that the meteorite fell on land currently controlled by BLM. However, JJC has also found two other listed locations for the meteorite site that point to Forest Service land on the NE side of the Capitan Mountains, about 25km away.

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