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Dwight Deal:  Geologist, explorer, naturalist, and educator.

Dr. Deal has spent his lifetime studying the surface of the earth and man’s interaction with the physical world around us. He enjoys helping others understand the wonders of the world we live in.  Dwight is a hydrogeolologist, karst researcher, and caver.  He initiated the modern exploration of Jewel Cave in South Dakota in 1959 and built the foundation for the geological understanding of the caves in the Black Hills in his Master’s Thesis at the University of Wyoming.  He has explored, studied, and surveyed many caves throughout North America, including the Flint Ridge–Mammoth Cave system, Carlsbad Caverns, and Lechuguilla Cave. Dwight helped bring modified rock climbing and mountaineering techniques into cave exploration in the US and taught many cave explorers how to use these techniques safely.  He was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Speleological Society (cave science and exploration) for seven years.  Dwight has first-hand knowledge of the karst of China, SE Asia (Laos and Vietnem), Cuba, the classical karst of old Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina), the karst of Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania), and the hypogenic caves in the Frasassi and Monte Cucco areas of central Italy.

During his college years, Dwight learned outdoor skills of rock climbing, mountaineering, white-water canoeing, skiing, and caving.  He spent two summers climbing in the Tetons and then two more as a Ranger-Naturalist for the National Park Service at Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota and Yosemite National Park in California.  Dr. Deal has spent much of his life providing search and rescue and emergency first aid to hikers, climbers, mountaineers, and hunters, first as an American Red Cross Advanced First Aid instructor and then as an EMT once that program was established. He was the leader of the Laramie Mountain Rescue Unit (Wyoming) and the Brewster County Rescue Squad (Texas). He has spent 35 years as a volunteer patrolman on the National Ski Patrol, mostly servicing the Rocky Mountain west. 

Dwight’s undergraduate work was in electrical engineering, physics, and geology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.  His Master’s degree is in geology from the University of Wyoming.  After earning graduate credits in geology and anthropology at the University of New Mexico, he received his PhD from the University of North Dakota.  Dwight has over seven years of university teaching experience, has worked as a geologist for the North Dakota Geological Survey and the University of Texas at Austin, and started a consulting geology business in Texas. Most of his geological work has involved groundwater, mining, and environmental geology. He moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and became the geotechnical manager for a major underground engineering and construction project to safely dispose of toxic and radioactive waste.

 

Dwight was a founding director of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute (CDRI) in Alpine, Texas and was the field research manager for the Texas Natural Areas Survey, a project of the University of Texas at Austin.  As an outgrowth of his work, Dwight developed a series of educational programs that included wilderness and natural history expeditions for travelers in the Big Bend and in Mexico. He assisted a series of educational wilderness programs for Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana), helped train instructors for Outward Bound, and developed a training program for the Texas Educational Association (high school teachers) on the use of the outdoors as a living classroom.

 

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