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Evening Lecture/Booksigning -- "Hunting for Intraterrestrials and Exploration in New Mexico’s Fort Stanton Cave"


By Diana Northup, Ph.D. and Ronald Lipinski, Ph.D.

Hear about the exploration of Fort Stanton Cave in New Mexico, the 15th longest cave in the U.S., by two expert speleologists – Dr. Northup is a world-renowned cave biologist and Dr. Lipinski is the Vice Chair of the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project.

They are an author and a contributor to the new book, 12 Miles from Daylight, describing the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project,, a unique blend of adventure, science, archaeology, history, geology, biology, and hydrology covering four decades of research and study. The 300-plus-pages include 350 color photos, maps, historic scenes, photos of delicate cave formations and a uniquely designed fold-out map of the entire cave.Purchase the book onsite or bring a copy with you for the speakers to sign.

Ronald Lipinski, Ph.D. surveyed portions of Carlsbad Caverns and Lechuguilla Cave in the 1980s and 1990s and has been part of the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project since 2008. He is currently Vice Chairman of the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project and lead developer of Caver Quest, a 3-D interactive virtual reality simulation of the cave that can be downloaded from the web site ( He earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and worked for 38 years at Sandia National Laboratories. He will discuss the exploration of Fort Stanton Cave and its amazing feature called Snowy River, the longest continuous calcite formation in the world.

Diana Northup, Ph.D. has studied cave life since 1984. She and colleagues on the SLIME (Subsurface Life In Mineral Environments) Team are investigating the role of microbes in the formation of caves and cave formations. She also investigates microbes that masquerade as minerals to help better detect life on extraterrestrial bodies.  Her work has been featured on NOVA, CNN, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic. She has a Ph.D. in Biology from UNM where she is Professor Emerita in the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences and a Visiting Associate Professor in Biology. She is a Fellow of the AAAS. She will discuss the hunt for intraterrestrials in Snowy River and other parts of Fort Stanton Cave and how cave microbes survive in utter darkness.

Held at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science1801 Mountain Rd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104 • (505) 841-2800 Visit:

Purchase in advance online to guarantee your seats, go to  Online lecture ticket sales stop Noon the day of the lecture. The day of the lecture if seats are available they will be sold at the door as a first come first server basis, at the NMMNH&S's Admissions desk.  Doors open at 5:30pm.  

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science reserves the right to cancel any event that does not reach a minimum of 6 participants. 

$7 General, $6 Members, $4 Students
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