Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Abstracts & Biographies

Winter 2018

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Presenter: Christian Stenner

Date:  February 8, 2018

Title:  Discoveries under the mountains:   Exploration of remote caves and avenues for research

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Caves and karst are one of the last unexplored frontiers on our planet and represent a unique laboratory for discovery and research. Part inspirational, part adventure, and part science, this presentation will highlight some of the expeditions and field research conducted in conjunction with exploring these isolated environments. Projects have included identification of bat hibernacula and monitoring in relation to the spread of White Nose syndrome, sampling cave soils and speleothems for astrobiology studies, and, to search for antibacterial agents effective against resistant pathogenic bacteria and fungi. The presentation will particularly highlight the multi-disciplinary studies of Glacier Cave Explorers, whose projects focus on exploration of glacier and steam caves in volcanoes of the US Pacific Northwest. Expeditions have combined mountaineering, caving, and specialized skills to chart the cave systems under the glacier in the crater of Mt. St. Helens and in the world’s largest network of volcanic steam caves at the summit of Mt. Rainier. Climatology, astrobiology and geochemistry studies are being conducted along with testing robotic components of future NASA spacecraft meant to search for extraterrestrial microbial life.


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