News and Blog
If the last few weeks of fieldwork have shown me anything, it's even when trying to minimize our impacts, humans can unintentionally cause a lot of damage to the environment. My B.Sc. thesis student Jimmy and I, along with several colleagues and assistants, have been assessing damage to several tourist caves in Belize. Below are images of our fieldwork, and some of the most common damages we saw. Images with the NICH and IA banner are taken by our collaborator and colleague, archaeologist Josue Ramos.
Above: Beautiful Cave Formations
Above: Getting around these caves can be a little dicey, to say the least
Above: My colleague's son, a budding geographer, helps me lay transect tape and make observations in the cave.
Above: Collecting data
Above: The most common damage we saw in the caves was: (upper and lower left) dirt, oil and abrasion from people touching cave walls and formations; (upper and lower middle) erosion from walking and hiking; (upper and lower right) broken artifacts and speleothems
Above, upper left: Jimmy tries to keep his notes dry as we cross the river. Above, right: It was tough but we survived!
My B.Sc. student Jimmy is studying the human impacts on karst environments, specifically caves, for his senior thesis. I've had the opportunity to assist him with his fieldwork, in collaboration with the National Institute of Cultural Heritage. The following photos are from a recent trip to study a cave in Western Belize that is not open to the public to compare with tourist caves.
Above: Jimmy and Josue, from NICH, laying transect tape inside of the cave.
Above: Cave entrance (L); Jimmy taking notes outside of the cave (R).
Top row: Cave formations; Bottom row: Stalactites (R); Bat skull found on the floor of the cave (L)
Top: Speleothems in the final cave chamber
Bottom row: Stalactites forming (L); Large speleothems (M); Going deeper into the cave (R)