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We collect data under their remote guidance, following their strict methodologies. As much as we need and appreciate our grants, they do not cover all of our expenses.There are only a few grants available for our specialized work, and sometimes we even compete with our own scientists for these funds. Even if we get them, we might not find out until late in the game.This labyrinth of caves under the glacier in the crater is one of the places the Park Service has limited data." Florea points out that the mountain's hydro-geothermal system has created the complex system of caves, which form as heat rises from the volcano's depths and melts the base of the ice cap that fills Rainier's twin craters.
A cave is "a natural opening in the ground extending beyond the zone of light and large enough to permit the entry of man," according to the U. Caves typically form in types of rock, such as limestone, that dissolve in water.
Caves can range in size from single rooms to large formations with winding passageways that extend for miles.
So, we need to study the changing volume of the ice just to understand the rate and how this is being impacted by global climate change." Mount Rainier has about 35 square miles of permanent ice and snow cover. S., Mount Rainier's Emmons Glacier has the largest surface area (4.3 square miles).
Carbon Glacier is the longest (5.7 miles), thickest (700 feet) and deepest (3,500 feet) in the contiguous U. As part of the research team, Florea also will collect data that will help scientists understand how life might thrive on Mars or the icy moons around the gas giant planets, like Jupiter's Europa or Saturn's Escalades.
See cave pictures and read about the latest cave discoveries and speleological research below.
These caves are remote, dangerous and undocumented.They possess a rare mix of mountaineering,ice-climbing, rope rigging, glaciology, science methodology, expedition logistics planning, cave survey, wilderness medicine, and other skills.Glacier caves are remote and difficult to access and these expeditions are complex.Various microorganisms may get energy to live by feeding from materials in volcanic rock."These caves are an extreme environment for life," Florea says.Our projects require the same level of care, detail and planning as you'd find on a Himalayan expedition.As we've become more successful with our expeditions, scientists and others have expressed more interest in our research.We’re going to collect water samples to understand the chemistry of that water.” To prepare for the arduous two-day trek, Florea has intensified his training regimen beyond regular running—hitting the university’s fitness centers to lift weights to build strength and the elliptical machines to improve his aerobic conditioning by simulating the long climb.He also has been wearing a training mask to help condition his lungs for high altitudes.This makes it hard to plan, budget and buy the necessary items we need for our complex expeditions.We need survival and rescue gear, medical supplies, specialized science equipment, lab analysis of samples, helicopters, volcanic gas monitors, satellite phones, breathing apparatus, and expedition-quality food and tents.