Government Canyon Blowhole: photo by Marvin Miller

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Founded in 1960 in support of research, exploration, education, and conservation of cave and karst resources, the Texas Speleological Survey (TSS) was incorporated in 1995 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, dedicated to the collection and management of Texas cave data. To further its primary mission of collecting, documenting, disseminating, and preserving cave data in all media, the TSS actively solicits and curates donations from cavers, consultants , and federal, state, and municipal agencies, including estate donations, which are sorted and catalogued in work sessions (including maps, original survey books, and visual materials).

Affiliated with the National Speleological Society (an official project of the NSS, the national organization for all things related to caves, karst, cavers, caving, and conservation), the Texas Speleological Association (the state's organization for cave scientists and explorers), and the Texas Natural Science Center, the TSS has its office and library at the Pickle Campus of The University of Texas at Austin. Its holdings include extensive cave and map files, a reference and lending library with materials of all sorts focusing on Texas caves and caving, and an in-house electronic database of over 14,700 items, available for searching both text-based and array-map reports on Texas cave areas.

Orion Knox in the entrance room of Electro-Mag Cave, Sun City, Williamson County, Texas - photo George Veni - click for a larger image in a new window
Orion Knox in the entrance room of Electro-Mag Cave, Sun City, Williamson County, Texas.
- photo George Veni

In service to the Texas caving community, the TSS website offers free downloads of Walls Cave Survey Data Management software and WallsMap - GIS Viewer and Shapefile Editor. This website also hosts TexBib, TSS' bibliographic database for Texas caves, caving, and cave science. Regularly updated, TexBib currently contains over 14,000 bibliographic entries dating from 1866 to the present, searchable by author, keywords, dates, or combinations; TexBib entries reference the broadest possible range of published sources from caving newsletters (Texas, national, and international), books, science journals, newspapers, magazines, theses, agency reports, and more.

Individuals and entities wanting additional information on Texas's underground resources can request information from the TSS; we support safe and responsible caving, cave science, educational initiatives, and conservation. Additionally, an awards program, office data-cataloguing work sessions, and an annual technical workshop are all ways that TSS supports and encourages Texas caving, while preserving its legacy.

The TSS maintains an active publication program, now more than 3,500 pages and 2,500 maps (with more in press). County surveys have published data on 68 counties represented in 28 volumes. Paleontology, bats, checklists, and guidebooks make up the majority of other published volumes, including out-of-state caves and detailed cave fauna studies from North America and Mexico. Out-of-print volumes are replaced by facsimile reprints (for sale on CD or as free downloads from the website). The current sales catalogue offers 38 TSS publications, including a map CD containing over 1,200 cave maps, and caving publications from non-TSS entities on Texas, North America, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

The (all volunteer) Board of Directors meets quarterly; contact information is listed on the Contact Us link under the "About TSS" menu in the navigation bar. For current information on TSS events and on events in the Texas caving community, please consult the TSS News link for special announcements and the Calendar link for event listings.

For more information or for information on sales, write the TSS at PRC 176/R4000, The University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712-1100, email at or

This web site offers an overview of the TSS, its holdings, its projects, and what the Texas caves and karst resources mean to the state. It provides links to short descriptions and pictures of very famous Texas caves, an introduction of the state’s karst geology, links to local caving organizations, and to additional resources that can help you find out more about caves and karst.

The TSS is a volunteer organization that welcomes your participation in supporting its goals and mission. The most important way you can help is by submitting information about previously unknown caves or the current status of known caves. To facilitate this, the site offers a convenient data submission form. Any information you provide will be used to update our master database files. The TSS has provisions to keep data confidential when necessary, to protect both owners and cave resources.

Other donations of cave-related materials are also welcome. Please contact us (see the donations page on this site), and we can help you decide where your materials might best be placed. If you have questions, suggestions, or would like to participate in TSS activities, please contact us.

NOTE: If you are accessing this site from a tablet or smartphone, the pulldown menus on the navigation bar above may not function well on all platforms. In that case, please note that each page has a footer including a full sitemap that will get you where you're going.