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Alfred Crabtree, Tires-to-Spare Cave, Putnam County, Tennessee 2 | by Chuck Sutherland
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Alfred Crabtree, Tires-to-Spare Cave, Putnam County, Tennessee 2

In April of 1994, a sudden catastrophic collapse allowed scientists and cavers their first glimpse into a previously unknown subterranean world. The first explorers of this cave immediately noted that it was full of human trash. Dozens of tires were all throughout it - a shopping cart from the other side of town was found inside.


The scientists made a full inventory of the trash, and used it, and dye traces to understand how the cave, dubbed Tires-to-Spare, fit into the network of caves and rivers in Cookeville.


Few people visit the cave. It's not a particularly nice cave. Most caves have had hundreds of thousands of years to find balance. The entrance area of TTS is now only 22 years old, and like most of us in our youth, it's a bit unstable. Large rocks move and slide. Boulders are perched precariously as they wait for their chance to let gravity do its work. It's an unnerving cave. We practice "floating" through the cave, touching as little as possible.


A large portion of the cave that its first explorers visited is now inaccessible due to the shifting of rocks. That shouldn't be terribly surprising, after all, its birth was an act of a changing world. I like to remind people that while the Earth may not look appear so, it is a dynamic world, ever changing.


Strobist: 2 x YN560 IV, 1/2 power, first handheld, second behind the subject facing toward the camera to silhouette the subject. Radio triggered by YN560-TX.

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Taken on December 26, 2016