Cave Spelunking Venture Earth's Deep Underground ~ Kwentology


What is spelunking? Some people put on snorkeling equipment and swim around ocean reefs. Other people suit up and climb to the tops of mountains. But spelunkers slap on helmets and venture deep into the Earth. Spelunking is the exploration of underground caves.

Image of Cavern Spelunkers While Entering the Cave

A spelunker climbs up and down a rope to enter and exit a cave.
Why would people plunge thousands of feet underground into a world of strange shapes and total darkness? According to author James Tabor, who wrote about caving, it's the challenge.

"There are some people who, when they look at a high mountain or a deep ocean or a bizarre cave, something really deep, deep, deep in them says, 'I've got to go there.' It's almost irresistible impulse," Tabor explains.

Image of Light from Aboveground as Passes through the Cave Openings

Light from aboveground shines through cracks in the Earth, providing light for spelunkers.

An Awesome Journey

Spelunkers face dangers including the possibility of drowning in underground lakes and rivers, being hit with poison gases, or being buried under rockfalls. That's one reason why spelunkers explore in groups. For them the payoff is well worth the risk. Coming across strange and colorful rock formations, going where no one else has gone before, and spotting cave-dwelling creatures make the experience and under-this-world adventure.

Image of Spelunker on Scuba Diving Under Cave

Some spelunkers swim in underwater caves. The man wearing a scuba-diving outfit is searching for a passage while beneath waters.

Safety Rock First!

Thinking of exploring a cave? Here are some common sense rules:
  • Always go spelunking with a grown-up. Never enter a cave alone.
  • Make sure someone aboveground knows where you are at all times.
  • Wear a helmet and carry a flashlight.
  • Obey the spelunker's motto: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.

Factoid: What's More About Spelunking?

Many people call their sport caving and prefer to be known as cavers. In the United Kingdom, the sport is called potholing.
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