Caves of Indiana--A release of an important publication to mark the International Year of Caves and Karst

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Richard "Dick" Powell
Lee John Florea
Arthur Palmer


The year 2021 is the 60th Anniversary of the first publication of Caves of Indiana by Richard L. (Dick) Powell. To commemorate that anniversary, the Indiana Geological and Water Survey (IGWS) is releasing a digital version of this book. This release also coincides with the UNESCO-sponsored International Year of Caves and Karst. This paper includes a link to the digital book, a memoir from Dick, and a preface from Art Palmer (a mentor of mine and mentee of Dick’s). Another version of Dick’s memoir was recently printed in Volume 23, no. 2 of the Bloomington Indiana Grotto Newsletter.

Caves of Indiana has an interesting legacy in the IGWS and a lore among cavers in Indiana.

This paper tells that legacy from Dick Powell’s point of view.

For many, Caves of Indiana represents a masterpiece of information during the birth of American Speleology. For others, it is an archetype of publications that have damaged caves and relationships between cavers and landowners. Regardless, it is highly recognized for its data gathering and presentation. Many libraries refuse to carry a copy lest it be stolen.[1] Copies oft appear in personal libraries, sometimes with folded pages and broken spines.

This version has been carefully revised and redacted to assure that the locations of, directions to, and maps of caves on private land are not available. In this, we attempt to balance the important, and often at odds, need to disseminate accurate information on caves while protecting this important, and frequently overlooked, fragile natural resource. For more information about caves and karst, and guides to responsible caving, please consult with the National Speleological Society (, the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (, or caving clubs local to your area.


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