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How Caltech can make amends for illegal drilling near petroglyphs

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The petroglyphs were just 3 feet from where the Caltech geology students would drill more than two dozen holes in the rock face, each of them 1 inch in diameter. And yet one of the participants, assigned to do advance scanning, failed to notice the ancient rock art, their professor says.

That could be true, but it doesn't begin to be an excuse for what happened. The 2017 field trip led by Joseph Kirschvink, a professor of geoscience at Caltech, wasn't legal to begin with because he had not obtained the permits to be there in the first place. Had he sought permission, he might well have found a different spot in the Volcanic Tablelands near Bishop, a site rich with petroglyphs ― a spot in which his scientific endeavors would have done no harm.

Another lesson learned: It's not OK to bypass federal law.

As if the incident weren't disturbing enough, we have now learned that after years of investigation by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the result of this insult to Native Americans and desecration of one of the public's great areas of antiquity was that Caltech will pay to patch the holes........

© The Korea Times

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