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Insights to Central Texas’ Drought History Found At Westcave

Westcave has a unique cave for studying our region’s drought history. With its small size, above-ground location and its many openings to the outside, the internal temperature of our cave is very similar to the ambient temperature outside of the cave. In contrast, the temperature in most caves is a relatively constant 21oC regardless of the ambient temperature. Since temperature affects the chemical composition of the cave’s formations, historical and current temperature information can be gleaned from studying stalagmites at Westcave.

Professor Jay Banner and graduate student researcher Peter E. Carlson at The Environmental Science Institute at the University of Texas have been conducting research at Westcave for a number of years. Their research provides a window into the changes in temperature through time for Central Texas and may ultimately help scientists make better predictions about future droughts.

The Secrets of Caves

research at Westcave by UT's Jackson School of Geo-Sciences