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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Custer in Custer County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Jasper vs. Jewel

Seeking Answers to Questions About Caves and Wildfires

 
 
Jasper vs. Jewel Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
1. Jasper vs. Jewel Marker
Inscription. 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
Jasper vs. Jewel Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
2. Jasper vs. Jewel Marker
It appears the Jasper Fire had no significant effect on Jewel Cave's wintering bats.
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
 
Erected by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 43° 43.79′ N, 103° 49.778′ W. Marker is near Custer, South Dakota, in Custer County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 16 and Jewel Cave National Monument Entrance Road, on the left when traveling west on U.S. 16. Click for map. The marker is at the Jewel Cave National Monument Vistor Center. Marker is in this post office area: Custer SD 57730, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Prescribed Fire (here, next to this marker); Jasper Fire (approx. 1.5 miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps Camp (approx. 6.2 miles away); The Hearst Highway (approx. 11.3 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Jewel Cave - National Park Service
Jasper vs. Jewel Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
3. Jasper vs. Jewel Marker
. (Submitted on October 26, 2010, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
 
Categories. DisastersEnvironment
 
Jasper Fire Remnants image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
4. Jasper Fire Remnants
Jasper Fire Remnants image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
5. Jasper Fire Remnants
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 631 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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