The Cave Formation Repair Project: Restoring the Beauty of New Mexico’s Greatest Caves
by Michael C. Mansur (NSS #26393CL FE)
This book is designed to meet two main goals: first, to give an overview of the work accomplished by the New Mexico-based, all-volunteer Cave Formation Repair Project from its inception in June 2018 through its third year, and second, to deliver step-by-step instructions for making and using the new speleothem repair tools and methods that are unique to this project. Project founder and author Mike Mansur strongly desires the techniques he and his volunteers have developed to be widely available to other cavers nationally and internationally so they might undertake formation repair work in their own local caves.
This book is projected to be 70 pages and contains five embedded how-two videos. Each page features text blocks and captioned, high-resolution photographs from work trips conducted by the Cave Formation Repair Project.
Chapter One: How the Project Started introduces Mike Mansur, his 35-year background in cave conservation, and his impetus for initiating the Cave Formation Repair Project. Here he discusses the role federal land management agencies play in the project, the Buehler epoxy that is the central component of each repair, and his leadership philosophy about open-sourcing the knowledge gained through formation repair work to benefit caves, the caving community, and the general public.
Chapter Two: The Caves and the Formation Repairs gives an overview of the repair work conducted through the project in seven New Mexico caves. The chapter is organized by cave and displays before-and-after photos of the work accomplished at each site. Text addresses the major challenges, accomplishments, and learnings from each cave, as well as Mike’s evolution as project leader.
Chapter Three: The Tools and How to Make Them presents 10 cave-safe, PVC-based tools Mike and his volunteers have innovated to facilitate formation repairs. A list of components and step-by-step assembly instructions are given for each tool, as well as photos of each tool in use in various in-cave repair situations.
Chapter Four: New Methods and Procedures presents techniques Mike and the volunteers have pioneered that build on and expand prior approaches to effecting formation repairs. These include new ways to identify breakage and match broken pieces, improved techniques for installing reinforcement pins and stabilizing formations while epoxy cures, and camouflaging techniques for restoring the natural appearance of repaired formations.