SIPERG returns to Portugal

CATEGORIES: Field Blog/News, News
Our group working in a central Portugal cave.

In January 2019, Dr. Alan Wanamaker and PhD student Diana Thatcher started the new year with field work to Portugal, accompanied by collaborators, Dr. David Gillkin (Union College) and an undergraduate student from Union College, Alaina Chormann.  While in Portugal, the group visited a total of five caves in the central and southern parts of the country.

Walking through the lake room in a southern Portugal cave.

This project (Collaborative research: Bridging the gap from northern Iberia to northwest Africa to reconstruct atmospheric dynamics and hydroclimate for the last 2,500 years) was recently funded by the National Science Foundation under the Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change (P2C2) program. The focus of this trip was checking on the new equipment that was installed in September and to collect data from the new and existing loggers.

Diana on the rocks above the cave in central Portugal.

In central Portugal, we visited Mira de Aire, the largest cave in Portugal as tourists as well as the cave in central Portugal that we have studied for several years.  The tasks in this cave included photos and videos (including drone footage) inside and out of the cave, retrieving data from temperature loggers, relative humidity loggers, pressure loggers, and drip counters, collecting slides with recently-grown calcite, and collecting drip and rain water.

Alaina collecting drip water in central Portugal cave.

The three caves in southern Portugal are new to us.  Loggers and slides were placed in two of the three caves in September and this was the first visit to collect data from temperature loggers, relative humidity loggers, pressure loggers, and drip counters.  We also were able to collect slides with recently-grown calcite and collect drip and rain water.  We were able to visit one of the three caves for the first time and install loggers, slides, and containers for the collection of drip water.

David Gillikin collecting water for analysis and measuring CO2 levels in a southern Portugal cave.


Diana and Al in a southern Portugal cave.

We are thankful for our Portuguese collaborators and their willingness to visit these caves when we cannot.  This work would not be possible without their support.

Al exiting a cave in southern Portugal.


Al Wanamaker enjoying the geology of the southern Portugal coast.