Jasper vs. Jewel

Jasper vs. Jewel (HMOSN)

Location: Custer, SD 57730 Custer County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 43.79', W 103° 49.778'

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Seeking Answers to Questions About Caves and Wildfires

The Jasper Fire started on August 24, 2000. It burned over 83,000 acres. This includes the entire surface above known parts of Jewel Cave. Will such a large, intense wildfire affect this unique national treasure? Now is our chance to find out.

While the Fire Burned

Wildfire does not threaten Jewel Cave. Its passages and the life within are well insulated by thick rock. But could smoke harm cave animals, like bats? Jewel Cave "breathes". A large amount of air flows in or out of the cave with changing barometric pressure. During the Jasper Fire not much smoke entered the cave. We learned that even smoke poses little threat to Jewel Cave wildlife.

Caption for upper right photo: The fire killed trees and other vegetation. Water that would have been used by this vegetation is now available to seep into the ground. This could increase growth of cave formations. Too much water might also damage some fragile formations.

When the Smoke Cleared

The immediate effects of the fire were few. What will happen in 1 year, 5 years or even 25 years? Scientists think two changes will occur in Jewel Cave. More water will enter its passages and this water may have a different chemistry.

The cave has experienced countless wildfires upon its roof. These changes are not unnatural or unusual. The exciting thing is now we can observe them for the first time.

Surface Activities, Caves and You

We do not know all the ways wildfire affects Jewel Cave. Caves are scientific frontiers. The surface and subsurface are connected in ways still unknown. Could your activities impact irreplaceable underground resources like caves?

Map title: Jasper Fire Boundary in Relation to Jewel Cave National Monument
Placed ByThe National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 10:43am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13T E 594258 N 4842532
Decimal Degrees43.72983333, -103.82963333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 43.79', W 103° 49.778'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 43' 47.40" N, 103° 49' 46.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)605
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1101-1199 F D R 277, Custer SD 57730, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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