John McLean, USGS Geologist and Hydrologist, Ret.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

The Arizona Senior Academy Building

Administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Fort Stanton – Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area (NCA) in east-central New Mexico was established in 2009 to protect, conserve, and enhance the unique and nationally important historic, cultural, scientific, archaeological, natural, and educational subterranean cave resources of the Fort Stanton – Snowy River Cave system.  Commissioned in 1855, the Fort Stanton Military Reservation was an Infantry and Cavalry post built to protect settlers in the region. Within the NCA is Fort Stanton Cave, over 31 miles long. It is the second longest cave in New Mexico–after Carlsbad Caverns–, the 14th longest cave in the U.S., the 62th longest in the world, and the largest cave managed by the BLM. Snowy River is a significant passage within Fort Stanton Cave, and is thought to be the longest continuous cave formation in the world. To date, approximately 15 miles of previously unknown passage have been mapped, without reaching the end.

Our speaker, John McLean, is a retired United States Geological Survey geologist and hydrologist. Working out of the Albuquerque and Denver USGS offices, he studied southwestern hydrology.  John is an internationally-recognized expert on cave exploration and science.  After publication of his groundbreaking research on the atmosphere and hydrology of Carlsbad Caverns he was invited to join the Cave Research Foundation, an American non-profit organization dedicated to research, exploration, and preservation of caves.  John will provide us with firsthand experiences and scientific insights into Fort Stanton Cave, including the history of its exploration and the use of ground resistivity measurements for cave discovery. He is a cousin of our neighbor, Joyce Stark.

Compiled by Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteer

Oct. 8: Special Lecture: “Exploring New Mexico’s Snowy River Cave Formation”