First exploration of Lava-tube caves in Arabia with John Roobol

The Caves of Kishb Chapter 13 of “Underground in Arabia” by John Pint The project to hunt for caves in the vast, volcanic wastes of western Saudi Arabia, got its start with a little push from “the grand old man of US caving,” Bill Halliday. No sooner had I arrived at the Saudi Geologicial Survey in Jeddah, than I was handed a computer printout by my new boss, Mahmoud. “Someone has sent you an Email, John,” he told me. Well, I didn’t even have an Email address yet, so I figured this must really be important…and so it was: “I notice there are lava fields not far from Jeddah,” wrote Halliday. “Are there any lava tubes to be found?” Well, I repeated that question to quite a few French, US and Saudi geologists during the next few months, but none of them could give me an answer. “The man you need to talk to,” they all replied, “is Dr. John Roobol. He spent years in those miserable lava fields. Right now he’s on leave, but he’ll be back.” Nearly a year went by before John Roobol finished sai

Mexico’s Ghost and Goblin Park

     Mexico is hosting  the world’s largest fumarolic pipe park Text and photos by John Pint Nearly fifty years ago, Dr. John Wright came to Mexico to study pyroclastic flows: great “rivers” of incandescent volcanic ash that flowed across the landscape some 95,000 years ago when a huge, explosive volcanic eruption occurred not far from what is now Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city. Among the curiosities that Wright encountered during his two field trips in the 1970s to the woods around the little town of Tala, 30 kilometers west of Guadalajara, were rock formations that less scientific nature lovers have dubbed “fairy footstools.” Dr. John Wright still mapping volcanics in 2012, in South Australia’s Gawler Ranges. Though retired, Wright plans to revisit Tala’s extraordinary rock formations this October. Typically they look like nicely rounded tree stumps, perhaps a foot or two high. The casual observer first sees them as cut trees, but on closer observation discovers they a

Las Ánimas y Duendes de Tala: México alberga el parque de chimeneas fumarólicas más grande del mundo

por John Pint Desconcertados por lo que parecían ser tocones de árboles hechos de piedra, los visitantes de la zona de Tala comenzaron a llamarlos Taburetes de Hadas. Hace casi cincuenta años, el Dr. John Wright vino a México para estudiar los flujos piroclásticos: grandes "ríos" de ceniza volcánica incandescente que fluían a través del paisaje hace unos 95,000 años, cuando se produjo una enorme y explosiva erupción volcánica no lejos de lo que ahora es Guadalajara, la segunda ciudad más grande de México. El Dr. John Wright sigue cartografiando los volcanes en 2012, en la cordillera Gawler del sur de Australia. Aunque está jubilado, Wright planea volver a visitar las extraordinarias formaciones rocosas de Tala en octubre. Entre las curiosidades que Wright encontró durante sus dos viajes de campo en la década de 1970 a los bosques alrededor de la pequeña ciudad de Tala, a 30 kilómetros al oeste de Guadalajara, estaban las formaciones rocosas que los amantes de la naturaleza me