Depth through thought

OUCC News 28th May 2008

Volume 18, Number 10

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Editor: Peter Devlin:

Note from the editor

Please keep the reports coming in.

Weekends for the remainder of term:

Library news

Steve Roberts

Journals continue to come in - sometimes I even have time to read them before cataloguing and shelving them! A gem of an article in the last WCC journal, on a trip to the Paris Catacombs. Some snippets:

"...we were moving on and took in several amazing rooms including an old bunker that had some impressive staircases within; and a room with faces carved into the walls, there was a lot of walking and by the time we reached the final room of the night many of us had been awake for almost 24 hours. It didn't matter though as Rug had saved the best for last..."

"We knew we were going to have to come out the same way we came in and it was a dodgy entry even at 3am, it was now lunchtime at the weekend and promised to be absolutely insane; not only did we have the worry of getting out unhindered but also the very real concern of people falling in, and so in a scene that could have been straight out of the great escape OT and Paulo popped the manhole and made a human barrier around the hole as the rest of us emerged blinking into the Parisian equivalent of Leicester square at rush hour. Bikes, mopeds, cars, pedestrians, they were all there, some of them aghast, some laughing while others desperately tried to ignore the seven mud and dust covered lunatics that had literally burst out of the ground, a woman had slammed on the brakes of her bike and stared at me in what I imagined to be a classic 'Sacre Bleu!' moment, I even tipped my helmet and said bonjour."

Great stuff. Also, Cave diving in Diros (Greece), Tenerife lava Tubes.

Missing In Action: Fisura Chica

Chris Rogers

Everything was coming together - the ferry was booked, the gear ordered, the first aid training sorted. All that was left was to pack the van and dream of standing at the top of the abyss that Dave Legg and the 2007 team left, listening as stones rattle away into the darkness below.

Canal Del Montico 2008 was ready. Until last week, that is.

It started with a total area survey from Marc Rubinat, one of our Spanish colleagues. Strangely he had displaced Chica ~500 m to the North relative to our area map. We were expecting to drop into the terminal Muxa sump, but with this survey it looks like we're dropping into blank space. Even more interesting, in 2005 a streamway was discovered carrying about twice as much water as the Tormenta streamway, that might drain the area beneath where Marc had placed Chica. But how to resolve the discrepancy between the two surveys?

Gavin Lowe writes: "I think this [the Spanish survey] could be right. We normally use WGS84 datum for our GPS coordinates, but the SIE use the European datum. We got our data for Cabeza Muxa from the SIE, and I see no evidence that it has ever been translated into WGS84. (Thanks to Dave for the hint.) When I do that translation, the relative positions of the caves are roughly as in Marc's survey (but they seem to have Chicago a bit twisted round). If that is right, and Chicago continues in its current direction, it would join Muxa just beyond the sump (or in it). But it wouldn't take much deviation for Chicago to feed the Lower Streamway in Asopladeru la Texa. There's only one way to find out."

So it looks like far from dropping into Muxa upstream of the sump, we will either drop into Muxa over the sump - where a bypass may well be found - or into an entirely different streamway altogether. With 300 m vertical separation and several hundred metres horizontal separation between Chica and the nearest cave, the bets are off!