Lecture, Film & Workshop Sessions

Hidden Earth 2018 Session Abstracts

Hidden Earth 2018

The caves and cave dwelling bats of the Banat region of Romania

Miss Jessica Eades

Romania has 32 species of bat, with at least 14 species seasonal users of caves and 4 species cave specialists. Romania has some of the largest European bat colonies on record, many of which are recorded in the cave environments during winter hibernation and at summer maternity sites. During the summer of 2018, Jess joined the Romanian Centre for Bat Research and Conservation to assist in some of the counts of Romania's large maternity colonies.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Mining Remains in Southern Spain

Mr Kelvin Lake

A VERY brief look at some of the amazing mining remains that can still be found both on the surface and underground in the southern part of Spain - probably one of the most intensely mineralized areas of Europe. Mining has taken place in this region from pre-Roman times to the present day. Although, now it is occurs in a few large opencast pits.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Getting involved in Cave Science

Miss Jo White

Are you interested in cave science?

Would you like to hear what British Cave Research Association events are coming up thus year?

Do you have an idea for a project but aren’t sure how to get started?

Come along to this open discussion about cave science and see what we have to offer.

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Hidden Earth 2018

The highs and lows of a cave climate monitoring project

Miss Jo White

The Yorkshire Dales Cave Monitoring project has been running since August 2016 and aims to provide background to research by Birkbeck University and University College London into rapid climate events in the early Holocene using speleothem samples. The monitoring has included logging temperature, drip rates, and CO2 as well as collecting water samples for isotope analysis.

As the project enters its third year come and hear about some of the results so far as well as the highs and lows of undertaking a project in cave science.

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Hidden Earth 2018

BCRA Cave Surveying Group meeting

Mr Andrew Atkinson

This session is open to anyone and the Cave Surveying Group encourages everyone who has anything to do with surveying to come along.
We will review the previous year, and plan the future ones, mainly training seems to be the focus however the more people that help the more we can get done.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Kefalonia

Mr Martyn Farr (United Kingdom)

The Greek island of Kefalonia is a prime holiday destination with holiday makers. But there is far more to the place than sun, sea and sand. Sea water sinks into the land on one side of the island and emerges on the other side at a higher level. This is a fascinating place with some exceptional caves and cave diving.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Developing a SIG in Hydrology within BCRA

Mrs Paula Grgich Warke

BCRA is well noted for scientific research and publications, and has a long history of supporting and promoting all aspects of cave science. For some time the group has not included a Special Interest Group (SIG) dedicated to hydrology in karst, despite this being a substantial aspect of cave research in GB and throughout the world by BCA/BCRA members.

In his review and commentary on the matter (Cave and Karst Science 45(2), 51-61), Dr John Wilcock has outlined the history of past SIG contributions and advocates young researchers to take on the task of furthering the BCRA aims by establishing a new SIG specifically relating to hydrology.

The discussion is intended as an open forum for anyone interested in karst research or those who have an interest, even non-academic, in such a SIG. Participants are asked to red Dr Wilcock's article prior to attending the discussion, if possible. Those interested in volunteering to set up and move the SIG forward are encouraged to attend and provide feedback on how best to establish and maintain this proposed group.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Caving in the Chalk

Dr Andrew Farrant

Caving in the Chalk.

The Upper Cretaceous Chalk of southeast England is not renowned as a major caving area, although it hosts numerous karst features including numerous stream sinks and some of the largest karst springs in the country. Yet just across the Channel, the Chalk does host several significant cave systems, and some impressive underground quarries. This talk will discuss the caves and karst of the Chalk, both in southeast England and in the Pays de Caux, Normandy, and highlight the reasons for the relative lack of Chalk caves in southern England.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Peak District Round Up 2017/2018

Mr Simon Brooks

The caves within the Peak District have been attracting attention from both locals and travelers for thousands of years. Sometime this interest was born out a necessity with a cave offering a warm(er) place to sleep or refuge from a prowling carnivore or as has become more the case in the last 150yrs purely out of interest and intrigue. Whether this was lowing a 'willing' volunteer in the depth of Eldon Hole, digging away at a blockage or immersing oneself in a flooded section of passage the activities have continued with, in recent years, some significant discoveries having been made as a result. This lecture will attempt to give an overview of the trials, tribulations and progress made in since October 2017 and why having a good pub near to your current favorite 'Ole of exploration' is always a bonus.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Caving in the Abode of the Clouds 2018, Meghalaya, NE India.

Mr Simon Brooks

In 1992 a small team of Cavers managed to get access to the small state of Meghalaya in NE India, in a part of the world that that was expected to not have significant caving potential. 26 years later a 26 strong International Team visited Meghalaya in the 26th year of what has become yearly expeditions under the auspices of the Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Project. This years expedition was particularly fruitful, focusing on two area within the first of which (The Sakwa Area) the stunning Peilklieng Pouk/Sakwa System grew to 26.5kms in length and in the second (Mawsynram area) the maze like Krem Puri was extended from 12.4kms to 24.5kms in length to become the world longest cave formed in a sandstone type rock. With another 22.8kms of excellent passage being mapped in 2018 taking the total cave passage mapped in Meghalaya since 1992 to 491kms it would seem like there is a bit more cave within the Indian Subcontinent than was first thought.

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Hidden Earth 2018

The caves and karst of the human body: the number 2

Dr Rostam Namaghi

I'll be honest, it'll be a crap lecture. Butt at least it'll be quick.

Building on the success of last year's lecture focusing on the phreatic development of ear canals and the vadose canyons of the nose; Rostam Namaghi managed to blag a job 'teaching anatomy' at Manchester Medical School. As such he has decided to follow it up with a description of the human through trip and a couple of notes on expedition surgery.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Krem Puri ‘Fairy Cave’, Meghalaya India - 2018 Exploration and Scientific Progress in the World’s Longest Sandstone Cave

Dr Mark Tringham (United Kingdom)

In 2018 the Meghalaya expedition included a much anticipated return to Krem Puri for a 3rd season. The 2017 expedition had left over 100 open leads in this complex 2D ‘Maze’ cave formed in Cretaceous aged sandstone. At 12Km it looked like there was a good chance to enter the record books as the World’s longest cave formed in sandstone. The 2018 exploration exceeded expectations with a major ‘push’ doubling the length to 24Km, easily smashing the world record and finding 2 further entrances to the system. The more distant parts of the cave were found to generally comprise larger streamway canyon passages with a less maze-like character. The cave exploration is likely now more or less complete and the intriguing geology, speleogenesis and unique sandstone speleothems, some of which are new to science, are receiving closer attention from the international team involved.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Exploration of Caves in Kaokoland, Namibia – Results of the 2018 Expedition

Dr Mark Tringham (United Kingdom)

Five cavers from GSS, RFDCC and SOB visited this area for a 21 day expedition during May 2018. This formed a follow-up to an earlier 2015 expedition and targeted more remote areas than had been reached before. The expedition objectives were to evaluate around 15 new caves entrances which had been identified with the help of locals. The new cave sites were explored and evaluated with a total surveyed length of 537m and cumulative depth of 183m. The expedition also revisited 2 caves that had been explored by SWAKNO in 1990, Orumana Sinkhole and Ohohorua (AKA Parakietgat). A resurvey was made of Orumana Sinkhole, the biggest cave in the region, adding in parts missed off the survey before, with a total length of 609m and depth of 59m. Photography and geological/speleogenesis observations were made in both of these.
The caves as a whole are of scenic and scientific interest. They have a likely ancient hypogenic origin unrelated to the present land surface or drainage and they contain a prolific bat and bird fauna as well as some preserved animal remains. Further potential undoubtedly remains in this region with caves likely to be of similar character to those already found,

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Hidden Earth 2018

"By Midnight, By Moonlight" - Ritual Protection Marks Beneath the Mendip Hills

Mrs Linda Wilson

An overview of ritual protection marks in caves, with specific reference to those beneath the Mendips, looking at types, history, possible meanings and their importance to the study of these marks in other contexts. The session will conclude with a short look at recording methods.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Migovec 2018 - 40km and it keeps going!

Mr Tanguy Racine (Austria)

The municipality of Tolmin, northwest Slovenia, hosts the country's longest cave system. With over 40km of passage Sistem Migovec is firmly established as the premier cave in the Triglav area.

The summer of 2018 saw the Imperial College Caving Club and our Slovene friends at the JSPDT find several km of new passages in the Primadona region, which lies to the west of the main system. This year with 24 people strong team spread over five weeks, and 8 Migovec novices, we set up a new underground camp to stage the rerig of the deep route and reopened Mary's Café for business to facilitate the access to the shallower leads.

Surface actions include the successful dig of Coincidence cave, currently the strongest candidate for the 9th entrance to the system, several visits to the M17 ice cave to set-up temperature/humidity loggers, and revisits to M19 (Bullshit Pot) and M22 (Venus Fly Trap).

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Hidden Earth 2018

CUCC Austria Expedition 2018

Mr Ruairidh Macleod

This year saw one of the largest and most ambitious expeditions in terms of scale ever launched by CUCC upon the Schwarzmooskogel (SMK) area of the Totes Gebirge in the Austrian Alps in the 42 year history of exploration here. Taking part were a majority of student and young cavers representing many university clubs from across the UK. The presentation will describe the results of the continued findings in the main SMK system (the second largest in Austria and one of few caves both >1km deep and >100km long), new caves that have been discovered this year or last year and are being further pushed, as well as the technical innovations made during the expedition and some other random associated trivia.

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Hidden Earth 2018

“Darkographies”: A photo-history of the Katafygadi cave archaeological excavation in Kythera island, Greece

Mr Konstantinos Trimmis (United Kingdom)

Photographing in the absolute darkness of a cave is challenging enough. Photographing an archaeological excavation of a Minoan - Bronze Age – cave can be even more challenging particularly because of specific light conditions that an archaeological excavation needs on top of the usual difficulties of cave photography. This paper presents the challenges that cave photographers faced during the excavation in Katafygadi cave in Greece were several photography modes were tested (secondary light sources on the frame, manual setting with different shutter speeds, using flashguns manually or in an automatic ttl mode) for the best recording of the cave and the archaeological process. Our project had the bi-fold aim to explore the technical aspects of the archaeological cave photography and to offer a third kind of photographic production, which occupies the space between art and ethnographic commentary of the archaeological practice follows Hamilakis (et al 2009) framework. From a theoretical perspective this “photo- history” aims to discuss photographs, as material artefacts of an excavation and part of the cultural context of the cave history. Photos work by evocation rather than representation, and as material memories of the things they have witnessed.

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Hidden Earth 2018

The Master Cave

Miss Christine Grosart (United Kingdom)

Izvor Licanke is a significant resurgence, not far from Rijeka in Croatia. In 2015 Chris began exploring the cave having got government permissions to dive there through Project Morpheus. Once the first sump surfaced into dry passages, the interest from the non-cavers dwindled so Chris built her own select team to help her explore the second sump which had only been dived once and had been left wide open.
The team have been back each year since and in 2018 took rebreathers to explore the sump which has a maximum depth of 50 metres, in 6 degrees of water. They filmed the exploration of their pursuit of the system which is almost certainly the region's 'Master Cave'.
The trip was not without incident and the team battled equipment troubles such as flooded suits, broken lines and an oxygen fire!

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Hidden Earth 2018

China Round up

Mr Madphil Rowsell

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Hidden Earth 2018

Thailand Cave Rescue

Mr Rick Stanton (UK)

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Hidden Earth 2018

The Return to Peña Colorada

Mr Connor Roe (UK)

The team returns to the Huautla region, Mexico, this time to the Cueva de la Peña Colorada. After a brief excursion into the system in 2017, the team prepared to pick up were Dr Bill Stone’s left in 1984.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Recce to Kalimantan

Mr Adam Spillane

In July 2018 I made a recce to East Kalimantan in Indonesia, with a view to mounting an expedition in 2019. A few caves were explored and lots more were heard about.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Mulu 2017/18

Miss Helen Fairclough

The Mulu Caves expedition in October 2017 was based at Camp 5 in the idyllic Melinau gorge. The two main objectives were exploration within the extensive Whiterock cave are and a small black dot which had been spotted high on the cliffs of the gorge. Despite being much smaller than many previous Mulu Caves expeditions, with only 8 cavers, over 4km of new passage was surveyed.

In 2018 a small team returned, this time with a more scientific focus, although they could not resist the lure of new passage entirely!

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Hidden Earth 2018

Flying high in Thung Salaeng Luang National Park, Thailand

Mr Andy Goddard

Four months before the world’s spotlight shone on Thailand’s Tham Luang and the Wild Boars, fifteen Sheptonites and friends were exploring the caves of Thung Salaeng Luang National Park in central Thailand.

The National Park is protected by a seemingly impenetrable cliff of limestone that rises from the plains. Resurgence caves, including Thailand’s longest cave, emerge from the limestone and are often teeming with life.

With over two kilometres of cave surveyed, snakes, tarantulas, forest monks, light aircraft and broken bones, the presentation will covers the highs and lows of Shepton Mallet Caving Club’s fourteenth expedition to Thailand.

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Hidden Earth 2018

The BCRA Cave Biology SIG and the Cheshire Sandstone Cave Project

Miss Louise Baddeley (United Kingdom)

An introduction to the newly formed Cave Biology Special Interest Group - where we came from, who we are, what we do and why. Including a summary the work so far in our first project - the Cheshire Sandstone Cave Project.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Tresviso 2018

Mr Phil Walker

The Tresviso Caves Project is a long running expedition to the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain, which this year will consist of two teams, including a large contingent of Sheffield University Speleological Society cavers. We hope that these teams will allow us to push the already 11km-long Cueva del Agua further towards the goal of a record breaking 1.5km deep through-trip, by connecting to the higher altitude systems of the Andara region

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Hidden Earth 2018

Progress towards a British Cave Monitoring Centre

Prof John Gunn

BCRA and Buxton Civic Association (BuxCA) have signed an agreement to establish a British Cave Monitoring Centre at Poole's Cavern, Derbyshire, a tourist cave owned by BuxCA. The agreement runs from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2022 but the intention is that this will be a long-term (ideally 'in perpetuity') project. The talk will outline objectives and progress to date which includes installation of Tinytag Radio-loggers generously donated by Gemini Data Loggers (UK) Ltd.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Paniai Lakes, West Papua – Disappearing Rivers 2018

Mr Peter Talling (Yorkshire)

This talk tells the tale of the first caving expedition to one of the most enticing areas of virgin karst worldwide, with a remarkably high density of disappearing rivers. This high limestone plateau extends for 70 miles along the spine of Indonesian Papua. It includes the highest mountain in Oceania (Puncak Jaya), has rather a lot of rain, and over 2,000 m of depth potential to the south. This 5-person reconnaissance expedition in August and September 2018 will attempt to reach a set of spectacular sinks and resurgences in the Paniai Lakes area. Their main target is a 150 m pitch into a huge resurgence nicknamed ‘The Ganges’, which lies 12 km from where a lake sinks. It remains to be seen whether they can overcome a tense political situation with the Free West Papua Movement and Indonesian military, using their cheeky charm and Ghar Parau postcards, and gain access to any caves whatsoever. But if you never try. At least there is a 4WD road to the coast for them to escape along. The expedition will finish with a search for caves (and gin and tonics) in the Raja Ampat islands to the north of Papua's Bird's Head.

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Hidden Earth 2018

What's the Point of Student Caving?

Mr David Botcherby

A round up of the year in student caving. From the all-out fun of the CHECC Forum to training, holidays, and expeditions, students get up to a lot in a year. This is a summary of what the different clubs have been up to, all coming together to (hopefully) show you just how worthwhile student caving is

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Hidden Earth 2018

Caves and Enlightenment

Dr Frank Pearson

The two neglected novels of Thomas Amory, written and published in the 1750s about the life of John Buncle, are remarkable for their numerous accounts of caves and caving. Most of the caving adventures included in the two novels, though fictional, appear to be drawn from the caves of Yorkshire, particularly around Brough and Mallerstang. Throughout both novels, caves act as a challenging threshold, a descent narrative, for Buncle's discoveries of enlightenment philosophy, wisdom and the essential qualities of a good life. Along with the writings of Defoe, Fielding, Richardson and Sterne, Amory's writing, and the role of caves, form the origins of the novel. Overlooked and left in the dark since the early nineteenth century, it is time that these extraordinary early artefacts of caves and the novel had some light shone on them.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Northern Round-up

Dr Frank Pearson

An overview of the exploration of caves in the north of England from 2017 to 2018, including recent discoveries on Leck Fell and on Newby Moss, Ingleborough.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Fun Facts about Fear!

Miss Faye Litherland

I have been a caver for over 20 years and have independently studied psychology in relation to stress, fear responses and trigger thresholds in mammals for 10 years. I am no stranger to being in frightening situations while caving, diving, horse riding, skiing and driving along the M42 during rush hour.
Fear is a critical response to danger. Without fear we would be dead. I will be discussing the science behind fear and stress, trigger thresholds, games the brain plays to keep you “safe” and how it all applies to both new cavers and experienced cavers facing stressful situations underground.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Hang Son Doong,- The Cave that Build a Village

Mr Sid Perou (Thailand)

40 minute film about the way British expeditions to one of the poorest war-torn areas of central Vietnam made a series of stunning discoveries, one of which Hang Son Doong achieved international publicity and transformed the lives of the local people.
Made with the help of Ryan Deboodt who let me use his stunning quad-copter footage and Howard Limbert who invited me over for a short trip to become the oldest person to go into the cave.
Commentary David Rose (recorded by Paul Taylor)
Paul Taylor has agreed to introduce it.
.

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Hidden Earth 2018

Fear of Falling. 25 year anniversary

Mr Nige Atkins

A presentation on the last 25 years of SRT

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Hidden Earth 2018

BCA Training Officer. Q & A session

Mr Nige Atkins

To clarify what has gone on to enable BCA to be where it is today with a positive future in training for cavers

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Hidden Earth 2018

An Evening With Caver Keith

Mr Keith Edwards

In 2015 and 2017 Keith won the video competition at Hidden Earth as well as winning an award for the best artwork produced digitally in 2017. Also one of his videos was selected to be shown at Kendal Mountain Festival 2015 and this year his video “The World of Caving” won Best in Show at the National Speleological Society Convention.
Keith was commissioned to produce the opening video for ‘A Golden Age of Cave Exploration’ at the Royal Geographical Society in London in December 2017 and in February this year clips from his videos were shown on The One Show to illustrate the caving part of Sport Relief 2018's 'Mother of All Challenges’.
Why is Keith so amazingly successful and what sets his videos apart for others? During this talk Keith will reveal, for the first time ever, the secrets of his success as well as imparting top tips to budding cave videographers. Come along and meet the legend who is Caver Keith along with members of his highly skilled team.

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Hidden Earth 2018

BCA... what can it do for me?

Mrs Helen Adams

This year at the bca agm we voted to set up a ' Vision group' for bca..... so best place to start with beers and cake at hidden earth!

What do you want bca to do???

This will be an an idea gathering fourm and I will bring cake.... Pop in have you say!

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Hidden Earth 2018

Youth & Development 2017-18, a summary and plans for the future

Dr Rostam Namaghi (United Kingdom)

A summary of what's gone on in Youth and Development over the last year, our current plans for the future and hopefully a good amount of discussion too. Ideal for anyone with an interest on what the BCA is doing for cavers under 18, students and scouts. Come along and meet the team and share ideas - we're always interested to meet new people.

*there will be an open meeting following the session - may need to talk to Les about when the best time would be, this would need to be advertised*

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Hidden Earth 2018

Mountain Eye: The finest TAG has to offer

Dr Rostam Namaghi (United Kingdom)

At the last hidden earth, Paul and I were cosying up to Adam Spillane trying to get on the Vietnam expeditions. Fortunately we were at the bar and so could drink away our sorrows when we were duly rejected. Over these sad pints I mentioned I was going on one of my Tennessee adventures (and recounting how much I've discovered with extremely little effort) and if I was bringing someone along with me we could have a go at a project. This was only the beginning of the madness.

Over the course of the hour we will cover everything from some very big finds, to kayaking underground, to tourist trips, to whisky, to caving in a 1970s neon orange wetsuit and a little bonus about Rostam's ill fated post expedition weekend in Vegas.

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