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05-17-2011, 01:06 AM #1
Underworld Adventures: Spectacular Cave ExplorationsCaves have been explored out of necessity , out of curiosity or for mystical reasons for thousands of years
Caving — also known as spelunking, when referring to amateurs without the proper knowledge, or training — is the recreational sport of exploring caves. In contrast, speleology is the scientific study of caves and the cave environment
The challenges of the sport depend on the cave being visited, but often include the negotiation of pitches, squeezes, and water though actual cave diving is a separate sub-specialty undertaken only by very few cavers. Climbing or crawling is often necessary, and ropes are used extensively for safety of the negotiation of particularly steep or slippery passages.
However, only in the last century or two has the activity developed into a sophisticated, athletic pastime.It has recently come to be known as an “extreme sport” by some
The deepest known cave pit in the continental United States, Fantastic Pit in Georgia’s Ellison’s Cave descends 586 feet (179 meters) straight down.
A caver descends into Hytop Drop, a 98-foot-deep (30-meter deep) pit in the Walls of Jericho, Tennessee. Located near the border with Alabama, the Walls of Jericho is a large, bowl-shaped natural amphitheater, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the South
An explorer descends into the Majlis al Jinn cave in Oman. At more than 50 stories deep, it’s one of the largest caves in the world. The cavers’ mission is to determine if Oman’s deep caverns could be safe for tourists to enter.
Containing some 600 paintings, Lascaux Cave in France’s Dordogne River Valley is home to perhaps the world’s most incredible array of Upper Paleolithic art. Prehistoric artists created the depictions of bulls and other animals on the cave’s calcite walls more than 17,000 years ago. The cave and its artwork was discovered by a group of teenagers in 1940.
Two images from the Ngozumpa Glacier in Nepal.
Its not surprising that caves formed in ice would include formations made out of ice. Of course,
ice formations may form in any type of cave if the temperature is low enough.
This passage under the Ngozumpa glacier reveals a classic phreatic-vadose transition. These images were take by Jason Gulley, a glaciologist studying the hydrology of glacial caves, in Alaska and Nepal.
Huge entrance on the Khumbu Glacier in Nepal. Note figure in red in distance. Scalloped walls indicate erosion by air currents.
Meltwater sculpted the dagger-like shaft of ice near a cave in Matanuska Glacier in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. Matanuska is an active glacier, advancing about one foot (0.3 meters) every day.
Glacial caves are often entered through crevasses which have captured surface water.
Wading through water is not uncommon in glacial caves....being a human...