John Alan Glennon

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Storm Cloud Chamber, Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico. NPS Photo

John Alan Glennon (born September 24, 1970) is an American geographer and explorer. His work has been mapping and describing caves and geysers.

Discoveries and research


In 1996, Glennon and Jon Jasper discovered an entrance to the Martin Ridge Cave System, Kentucky, and explored connections to nearby Jackpot and Whigpistle Caves (Groves, C.G. 1998). The combined cave system is 51 kilometers (32 miles) long (Gulden, B. 2005). The cave is hydrologically connected to Mammoth Cave---the world's longest cave (Quinlan J.F. and Ray, J. 1989). Glennon also was involved in the discovery of one of the largest cave chambers in Kentucky (Yonker, R. 2003).

A portion of El Tatio Geyser Field, Chile. NPS Photo


In 2002, Glennon led an American expedition to El Tatio Geyser Field, Chile. The team produced the first comprehensive inventory and description of the geysers' behaviors. The resulting report concluded that the site was the world's third largest geyser field (Glennon, J.A. and Pfaff, R.M. 2003).

Hoffman Environmental Research Institute (HERI)

With Dr. Chris Groves, president of the Cave Research Foundation (2004-2006), Glennon cofounded HERI in 1999. The Institute's mission is to study the environmental and geologic aspects of caves and karst landscapes. Headquartered at Western Kentucky University, HERI's major scientific focus has been on the karst issues of China. Notable HERI students include Joel Despain (International Expeditions Chair, National Speleological Society) and Patricia Kambesis (former President, Cave Research Foundation).


Glennon is a geography Ph.D. student of Dr. Michael Frank Goodchild at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Goodchild is a pioneer in Geographic Information Science and discoverer of Castleguard Cave, Canada's longest cave. Glennon received a Master of Science in Geoscience from Western Kentucky University, 2001, and Bachelor of Science in Park Administration from Texas A&M University, 1994.


Glennon, J.A., Pfaff, R.M. (2005). The operation and geography of carbon-dioxide-driven, cold-water geysers, GOSA Transactions, vol. 9, pp. 184-192.

Glennon, J.A., Pfaff, R.M. (2003). The extraordinary thermal activity of El Tatio Geyser Field, Antofagasta Region, Chile, GOSA Transactions, vol 8. pp. 31-78.

Glennon, J.A. (2001). Application of Morphometric Relationships to Active Flow Networks within the Mammoth Cave Watershed, M.Sc. Thesis, Bowling Green: Western Kentucky University, 87 p (includes a description of the discovery of Martin Ridge Cave).

Gulden, B. (2005). USA longest caves. National Speleological Society GEO2 Committee. (web).

Groves C.G. (1998). The Martin Ridge Cave System, Cave Research Foundation Newsletter.

Quinlan, J. F. and Ray, J. (1989). Map of groundwater basins, surface drainage, major caves, flow routes, the potentiometric surface, and an index to the topographic maps in the Mammoth Cave Region south of the Green River, 2nd edition. Friends of the Karst, Mammoth Cave, KY.

Yonker, R. (2003). Kentucky Cave Passage Explored, Associated Press.(web).


External links