Colombia Caving and Climate

Juan Carlos setting up the water collection system

This summer, Dr. Al Wanamaker and MS student Juan Carlos Romero Gelvez visited 2 caves in the eastern Colombian Andes. The caves are in the karstic province of Velez, nearby El Peñon a small village in the Colombian mountains. The purpose of this visit was to retrieve loggers inside and outside the caves, also to install other loggers at other several places inside the caves to get readings from the entire cave system and get additional measurements such as pressure and drips count rates.

Al pondering in a cave in Colombia

One year of temperature and relative humidity data was recovered for each cave and 4 new stalagmites were collected from one of the caves. Possibly these new samples will complete the newest part of this climatic record spanning from 50kyr to approximately 4kyr before present.

Juan Carlos setting up a drip counter, collection slides, and water collection containers (very high tech)

Next steps will involve getting back to the caves in December to retrieve the loggers and collect rain samples for the next 6 months from a rain gauge at base camp. All these data will help us to better understand climatic phenomena in the region including ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation).