QUBCC Cave Science Festival 24th-26th March

Published by Chairperson on

The Caving Club at Queen’s University, Belfast are holding a Cave Science Festival over Wednesday 24th – Friday 26th March 2021. This event will consist of a series of webinars in the evening and be held virtually using Microsoft Teams.

Here is the link for Thursday 25th March, starting at 6pm UTC,


And here is the link for Friday 26th March, starting at 6pm UTC,


Just to note that you can use Teams without an account and log on as a guest, however you will need to have downloaded the app if using your smartphone or a good browser on your computer should be sufficient. You do not need to give permission to it to use your camera/microphone unless you’d like to ask a question at the Q&A sessions.

Some of the talks will be recorded!

Thursday’s line up will be

  • 18:00 – 19:15, Dr Les Brown 
  • 19:15 – 20:10, Dr Tina Aughney
  • 20:10 – 20:35, Dr Andi Smith
  • 20:35 – 21:10, Alistair Morgan

Friday’s line up will be

  • 18:00 – 18:30, Dr Thorsten Kahlert
  • 19:00 – 20:00, Dr Mike Simms
  • 20:10 – 20:40, Dr Robert Wagner

18:00 25/03/21

Dr Les Brown is a Senior Hydrogeologist with ARUP. He is a specialist in karst with 26 years’ experience in academia and consulting. His Ph.D. research into the hydrology and geology of the Cuilcagh karst was completed in the Limestone Research Group at the University of Huddersfield and his studies into the Cuilcagh karst have continued ever since. 

This presentation focuses on the two longest cave systems in the Cuilcagh karst; the Marble Arch Caves and Shannon Cave. These caves have contrasting geology and speleological evolution. Between them they drain the full northern flank of Cuilcagh Mountain and form the headwaters to the River Erne and the River Shannon. In the Cuilcagh karst the watershed between the River Erne and River Shannon is controlled by the underground drainage and tracer experiments to unravel the underground connectivity have revealed pathways suggesting that only part of the cave network has so far been explored.  

19:15 Thursday 25/03/21

​Dr Tina Aughney works with Bat Conservation Ireland.

Her presentation is titled “Bats in Ireland”

20:10 Thursday 25/03/21

Dr Andi Smith is a member of the BCRA and works in the British Cave Science Centre.

His presentation will give an outline of the BCSC and how the site works to support open access cave research. 

20:35 Thursday 25/03/21

Alistair Morgan who will talk about some of the new work he is doing in the Pooles cavern cave looking at tracing phosphorus dynamics in cave systems.

18:00 Friday 26/03/21

Dr Thorsten Kahlert who works in QUB Archeology will be giving a presentation on “WHS of Trang An Landscape Complex in Northern Vietnam” 
In it he will briefly introduce the geology of the landscape and how the karst formed and then touch on the caves, some of the fauna he encountered, and how they were used by humans over a time span over 30,000 years within a landscape that underwent several cycles of marine inundations.

19:00 Friday 26/03/21

Dr Mike Simms, Senior Curator of Natural Sciences, National Museums Northern Ireland,​ will be giving a talk called “As Old as the Hills: The chronology of caves and their landscapes”

Caves, formed by streams draining into limestone from the surface, provide a unique record of changing landscapes by creating new underground drainage routes. Cave passages, and the sediments or animal remains that they contain, are protected from weathering and erosion far longer than if they were on the surface. Limestone caves present natural barriers to most ordinary mortals but, for those willing to tolerate the discomfort, they offer unparalleled opportunities for reconstructing, and dating, the evolution of the landscapes with which they are associated. The talk will focus particularly on Irish caves and their landscapes.

20:10 Friday 26/03/21

Robert Wagner is a Research Specialist working with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC [pronounced “el-rock”]) at Arizona State University. He started working with LROC as a student worker shortly after the mission launched in 2009, and has done everything from camera calibration to geologic image analysis. His main research focus is lunar pits and caves. His talk is called “Caves on the Moon (and Mars)”

In the last fifteen years, high-resolution images of the lunar and Martian surfaces have revealed hundreds of potential cave entrances.  These caves could provide access to buried geology, shelter for astronauts, and maybe even havens for present-day microbial life on Mars!

We hope these talks all sound of interest to you and encourage you to come and attend!

Here are the Facebook events for each talk;

Thursday 25th:

Dr Les Brown: Hydrogeology of Cuilcagh Mountain, https://fb.me/e/5nRocAnhr

Dr Tina Aughney: Bats in Ireland, https://fb.me/e/1Y9OGV9Xt

Dr Andi Smith: On the British Cave Science Centre, https://fb.me/e/5hWVX1rnu

Alistair Morgan: Tracing Phosphorus Dynamics in Cave Systems https://fb.me/e/1hHgzvnIa

Friday 26th:

Dr Thorsten Kahlert: World Heritage Trang An Landscape Complex, Northern Vietnam, https://fb.me/e/267LcDELw

Dr Mike Simms: As old as the hills: the chronology of caves and their landscapes, https://fb.me/e/1mHDohByr

Robert Wagner: Caves on the Moon (and Mars), https://fb.me/e/EjuUK6sE

Check out QUBCC’s Facebook page for more information about the series of talks that are taking place.

We are proud to announce QUB Caving Club’s ‘Cave Science Festival’ for the International Year of Caves and Karst.


Posted by QUB Caving Club on Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Categories: News

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