September 2012 – Walt Vennum “Field Geology in Antarctica”

Walt Vennum presents “Field Geology in Antarctica” which will cover a bit about the geology and, what it is like to live and work in a really remote, inhospitable and (sometimes) beautiful place for an extended period of time.

As a member of Diablo Grotto since the early-mid 90s, Walt has caved in both the Western and Eastern US as well as Mexico, Guatemala and Cuba. Walt’s interest in big wall rock climbing in Yosemite led him into caving. He earned a PhD in geology from Stanford in the early 1970s after doing a dissertation on the igneous rocks of Castle Crags Wilderness Area in northern California. He has worked for the USGS in SE Alaska, Antarctica and Saudi Arabia and then became a geology professor at Sonoma State University (SSU) near Santa Rosa. He has since retired from SSU.

June 2012 – Dr. G.O. “Geo” Graening “Bioinventory of the Marble Mountain Karst”

Dr. G.O. Graening presents on the “Bioinventory of the Marble Mountain Karst”.

G.O. got into caving by chance:  when he started his doctoral program in biology at the University of Arkansas (in the heart of the Ozark karst region), he joined Dr. Art Brown’s lab, who specialized in speleobiology and cavefishes.    In 1999, G.O.  began studying the foodwebs of the Ozark cavefish, and got hooked on caving and cave science.  He expanded Dr. Brown’s research program into a 2-State inventory of cave life in Arkansas and Oklahoma, which culminated in the new hardbound book “The Cave Life of Oklahoma and Arkansas”.   G.O. then worked for The Nature Conservancy, and helped launch their subterranean biodiversity conservation initiative nationally, as well as in the Yucatan and Jamaica.  G.O. moved back to California in 2004, where he joined the Mother Lode Grotto, and began studying the cave life in California.  Collaborating with other speleologists and biologists, G.O. and his team have found several new species of cave arthropods, and he hopes to complete the California survey in a few years and produce a book on the cave life of California.