NSS 75th Anniversary Convention

Welcome to the
National Speleological Society!

An Introduction

There has been a secretive underground organization lurking around in the bowels of the earth for almost 75 years. Members of the National Speleological Society are passionate about the exploration, study, and conservation of caves our out of sight and out of mind subsurface resources.


The National Speleological Society is the largest organization in the world dedicated to the study and exploration of caves. We're a non-profit society and are affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Our 10,000 members endorse a strong ethic of conservation and preservation of America's underground environments.

Every summer, the NSS hosts a convention where our members gather from around the world to collaborate and share information about trends in speleological science, art, literature, safety and techniques.

This fusion of science, art and social events is the highlight of our annual calendar.

In July of 2016, the 75th anniversary convention of the NSS will be hosted in Ely, Nevada in the heart of the American West's Great Basin.

Explore. Study. Protect.

Learn more...

The NSS has developed these brochures about the society, caves, and caving. You may freely download and print this material. Hard copies may be made available upon request.

NSS Information Brochure

Learn about the society's diverse programs, activities, and aspects of speleology in which members are involved. Understand the benefits of membership in the society, and the value of membership to caves, caving, and speleology.
1.51 MB

A Guide to Responsible Caving

This booklet discusses caves and the many elements of the sport of caving. Exploring caves is becoming increasingly popular in all areas of the world, and caving responsibly is more important now than ever. Discussions include safety, training, and learning to reduce the detrimental effect cavers can have on caves and cave owner relations.
1.13 MB

Fragile Underground

Caves are the world's most remote and fragile wilderness. They provide irreplaceable habitats for rare plants and animals, some of which spend their entire lives in complete darkness. On its way to our drinking supply, water often travels through caves into wells, springs, and aquifers, the source of most of our drinking water. A cave's intricate passageways and dramatic formations offer exquisite scenery and fascinating opportunities for research and mapping. Many caves also preserve fragile prehistoric and historic records for millennia.
392 kb

Lava Tube Caves

Lava tubes play important roles in our ecosystem, our history, and our culture. Caves formed in lava are found where volcanoes have produced certain types of flowing lava - western United States, Canary Islands, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kenya, Australia, Pacific Ocean islands, and other volcanic hot spots. The islands of Hawaii harbor some of the world's most spectacular lava tubes.
1 MB


Bats are among the most beneficial yet misunderstood mammals. They control insect populations, pollinate cacti and tropical fruit trees, and are important to medical and scientific advances. Sadly, bat colonies throughout the world are declining drastically as humans, intentionally and unintentionally, endanger bats and disturb their habitats. Bats are extraordinary in a number of ways.
651 kb

White Nose Syndrome

Information that can be passed out to cave owners, unaffiliated cavers, and others to spread awareness of the issue. Participants at NSS conventions are required to follow national decontamination protocols as specified by the USFWS.
425 kb

Youth Group Caving

A policy statement and guidelines on caving, prepared by the Youth Groups Liaison Committee of the National Speleological Society and the Boy Scouts of America.
1.15 MB