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There isn't a Manual of Caver Information, but the following list will give you a good basic grounding in Missouri Geology, Biology, Natural History, and Basic Caving Techniques. More specific information on certain topics can be obtained from issues of Missouri Speleology, from contacting the NSS, Missouri Caving Grottos, and the publications divisions of the Missouri Dept. of Conservation and Dept. of Natural Resources, Geologic Survey and Resource Assessment Division, both of which have extensive lists of information for sale.

Most of these books are available through public libraries, or through interlibrary loan. A few may be obtained only through cave specialty bookstores, such as the NSS Bookstore. A few are hard to get, but they are invaluable for what they provide.


Beginning Caving: A Guide for Beginners, Missouri Speleology, Vol. XX, No. 1-2., Missouri Speleological Survey, St. Louis, MO, 1980. Beginning caving text written with Missouri Caves in mind.

Cave Minerals of the World, Carol Hill & Paolo Forti, National Speleological Society, Huntsville, AL, 1986. General work on cave deposits, their chemistry and deposition.

Caving Basics, Jerry Hassemer & Tom Rea, eds., National Speleological Society, Huntsville, AL, 1982, 1987. General beginners info on safety, techniques, and speleology.

Speleology: The Study of Caves, George W. Moore & G. Nicholas Sullivan, Cave Books, St. Louis, MO, 1964, 1978. Basic introduction to cave sciences of geology, biology and human cave use. Suitable for people with a high school grasp of science.

The Art of Cave Mapping, Kenneth C. Thomson & Robert L. Taylor, Missouri Speleology, Vol. 31, No. 1-4, Missouri Speleological Survey, St. Louis, MO, 1991. This revision and update adds to technology to the old basics of compass and tape mapping techniques. Essential for anyone wanting to learn cave mapping.

Underground Worlds, Donald Dale Jackson, Time-Life Books, Inc., Alexandria, VA, 1982. A good layman's introduction to the history, people and places of caves and caving.


Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, Thomas R. Beveridge, (second ed. rev. Jerry D. Vineyard), Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Land Survey, Rolla, MO, 1978, 1990. Designed for the layman, heavy emphasis on karst, but something for everyone. Locations and directions, but permission MUST be obtained before visiting most sites.

Missouri Geology, A. G. Unklesbay and Jerry D. Vineyard, University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London, 1992. A good overview to the geology of the state; the writing sometimes gets a bit confusing to a non-geologist, however.

Springs of Missouri, Jerry D. Vineyard and Gerald L. Feder, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Land Survey, 1974, 1982. Excellent guide to hydrology of major spring systems, suitable for the general reader.


Caves of Missouri, J Harlen Bretz, Missouri Geological Survey, Rolla, MO, 1956. This book is out-of-print, out-of-date, and hard to find, but it was the first modern definitive work of speleology authored by a geologist, who based his conclusions on firsthand observation.

Exploring Missouri's Legacy: State Parks and Historic Sites, Susan Flader, ed., University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London, 1992. Overview text and picture book. Articles on Missouri cave and karst parks make this book useful for history and geology.

Missouri: The Cave State, H. Dwight Weaver & Paul A. Johnson, Discovery Enterprises, Jefferson City, MO, 1980. A good overview of the history and geology of Missouri caves and caving, arranged by watershed, and with special emphasis on commercial caves.

Ozark Hydrology: A Predictive Model, Tom Aley, Missouri Speleology, Vol. XVIII, No. 1-4, Missouri Speleological Survey, St. Louis, MO, 1978. A rather technical analysis of the Hurricane Creek area karst hydrology (Shannon/Oregon/Carter Counties), but much of the hydrological theory applies over the Ozark karst region.

The Wilderness Underground: Caves of the Ozark Plateau, H. Dwight Weaver, photo eds.: James N. Huckins & Rickard L. Walk, University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London, 1992. Good "coffee table" Missouri cave reference with accurate information and outstanding photos. Little information on specific caves.


Invertebrate Fauna from Missouri Caves and Springs, James E. Gardner, Missouri Department of Conservation, Natural History Series No. 3, Missouri Conservation Commission, Jefferson City, MO, 1986. Scientific monograph listing Gardner's findings. Biology background required for perusal.

The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri, Tom R. Johnson, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Conservation Commission, Jefferson City, MO, 1987. Layperson's field guide to common amphibians and reptiles, with references to cave usage by species.

The Fishes of Missouri, William L. Pflieger, Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO, 1975. Layperson's guide to fish in Missouri. A couple of pages on cavefish. Most cavefish references are found only in scientific papers.

The Life of The Cave, Charles E. Mohr and Thomas L. Poulson, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, 1966. Even though this book is 40 years old, it is still a fairly accurate, and very readable non-technical introduction to cave life, and cave ecology.

The Wild Mammals of Missouri, Charles W and Elizabeth R. Schwartz, University of Missouri Press and Missouri Dept. of Conservation, Columbia and London, rev. 1981. Large format book with excellent nature drawings and information on Missouri mammal cave users, especially Missouri bats.

Other Resources:

Central Missouri State University has an extensive collection of old, foreign, and otherwise hard to obtain pieces of speleological literature in its Speleology Special Collection of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. This collection is cataloged online with the rest of the library, and is designed for in-house use by prior permission. Some items may be available via xerography interlibrary loan. Contact the special collections librarian for access to materials. This collection was obtained over the last 50 years via exchange of copies of Missouri Speleology with other journals, and by private donation.

NSS Library. The NSS has a research collection available to its members and speleology researches at its headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama. Contact the NSS for details.The NSS also publishes a line of cave books of general interest for sale.

Speleo Vendors. Many speleology books are printed in small quantities or in the academic press, and unlikely to be found in any of the big chain or online bookstores. Speleo gear dealers often carry a line of books. Others, such as Speleobooks, Cave Books, and Inner Realm Books, are devoted to new, used, and rare printed speleoania. An Internet search on "Cave or Caving Books" will take you to many of these vendors who are small enough to give personalized service, and being mostly cavers themselves, understand your dying need for the October issue of the 1894 journal Spelunca in the original French.

2003 Jo Schaper.

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