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Fort Stanton Cave Conference

This conference has been postponed until spring, 2022 due to global pandemic concerns. It will now be the special theme for the Annual New Mexico Geological Society Spring Meeting.

Snowy River passage, Ft Stanton Cave
Snowy River in Fort Stanton Cave
Photo by John Ganter with assistance from Kat Rix
Biological speleothem, Ft Stanton Cave
Unusual biological feature in one the newly discovered passages at the far south end of Snowy River.
Photo by Garrett Jorgensen


The primary goal of this conference is to gather together the many individuals who have been working on various scientific and related aspects of Fort Stanton Cave (FSC) to share results, cross-fertilize their work with other investigators, and hopefully to stimulate more interest in scientific projects into the future.

With the discovery of the Snowy River passage in Fort Stanton Cave on September 1, 2001, FSC has emerged as one of the most scientifically significant caves in the west. A major publication has been produced by the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project titled 12 Miles from Daylight: Fort Stanton Cave and the Snowy River Discoverythat provides a wealth of background information about the cave. Ongoing and new scientific research adds valuable knowledge to the many scientific questions surrounding the cave.

Details for the next conference are not yet available.

We expect about 80 to 120 conference participants drawn from those who already have been producing scientific, photographic, cartographic, and other types of projects in the cave and extending to experts in various topics who have not previously worked in FSC but who are leaders in their respective subjects. We also hope to attract early career professionals and students to the FSC site.


The conference structure includes Day 1 of scientific presentations by the FSC community investigators. Day 2 will be devoted to breakout sessions in different broad topics including hydrology of the system, geological setting and speleogenesis, biology and microbiology, and others as appropriate. The breakout sessions mandate is to produce a summary of the state of the art of knowledge about FSC and relevant work in the speleological sciences and arts in general and to help map out future directions for inquiry. Day 3 will present a field trip to relevant hydrological, geological, and biological sites in the area surrounding the cave.

Talon Newton, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources,
Penelope Boston, NASA,

Scientific Organizing Committee:
Mike Spilde, Chair, UNM,; Johanna Blake, USGS,; Diana Northup, UNM,; Victor Polyak, UNM,; John Lyles, LANL,

Please contact the conveners or science committee to be put on the list for more information.