Showing posts with label Caves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caves. Show all posts

Video: An Expedition to One of the Deepest Caves on Earth

Think cave diving simply involves showing up at the site, putting on your gear, and dropping in? Think again. In this video, we get a glimpse of the logistics involved in simply reaching the Dark Star cave system in Uzbekistan, which is believed to be one of the deepest on the planet. The team of explorers who recently went to the cave spent hours on a bus just to reach their starting point. They then trekked for two days to get to base camp, located above 12,000 feet (3657 meters). The cave itself has seven known entrances, each of which requires rock climbing skills to reach. In other words, this is no walk in the park. Check it out below.

Video: Kayaking Along an Underground River

Kayaks can take us to some pretty amazing places that are often unreachable on foot. Case in point, in this video we actually go underground in Mexico to explore a cave with Rafa Ortiz and Leo Ibarra, who discover a waterway that is faster and more turbulent than they expected.

Nat Geo Takes Us Deep into "Dark Star" – Potentially the Deepest Cave System in the World

Exploring deep caves is an activity that brings its own set of challenges not unlike scaling a high mountain. Sure, you don't have to worry about acclimatizing per se, but thin air can be an issue and carrying supplies and gear into vast underground chambers is not unlike establishing camps as you ascend a Himalayan peak. Add to the fact that you are always surrounded by darkness, and you start to get an idea of just how unique these experiences can be. Now, imagine you're exploring a cave system that may be the deepest on the planet, with a bottom that has yet to be discovered.

In a new article posted on the National Geographic website, we plumb the depths of just such a place. Dubbed "Dark Star," the cave is located in a remote region of Uzbekistan and has been dubbed the "Underground Everest." That's because eight expeditions have delved into its depths – mapping over 11 miles of passageways, caverns, and chambers – but have yet to find an end to the massive subterranean realm. So far, the deepest they have gone is 3000 feet (914 meters) below the surface, but the feeling is that Dark Star runs deeper. Much deeper.

The current record for the deepest cavern known to man is the Krubera Cave, located in the Eastern European country of Georgia. That cave drops an unbelievable 7208 feet (2196 meters), so Dark Star has a long way to go before it breaks that record. But after more than 20 years of mapping and exploration, there doesn't seem to be an end to be had just yet, and there are some indications that it goes far deeper than Krubera, its just that no one has gone down that far just yet.

The cave was first discovered back in 1984 by a team of Russians, but it wasn't explored at all until the 1990's when a group of British cavers first passed through its outer entryways. Most of Dark Star's mysteries have yet to be found, as most of the teams that have gone inside have ended up running out of rope before they've made much in the way of significant progress. Yet expeditions continue to come when they can, which isn't as often as serious cavers would like considering the remote nature of the entrance and the unstable political conditions of the surrounding region.

The Nat Geo story is a fascinating one, especially for those of us who don't know a lot about cave exploration. Author Mark Synnott takes us deep inside Dark Star, where a dedicated team of scientists, researchers, and explorers is examining the site, pushing deeper into its depths, and learning more about the underground spaces of our planet. It is an intriguing read that reminds us that not all of our adventures need to go up, nor remain on the surface of the Earth at all.

Check out the full story here or in the March issue of National Geographic magazine.

Video: Kayaking Through Underground Caves in Mexico

In this video, we join kayakers Rafa Ortiz, Jared Meehan, and Andrew Pollock as they head to southern Mexico to explore a system of underground rivers that pass through an intricate cave system. There aren't any massive waterfalls to drop, or Class V rapids to run, but there is a great sense of exploration and adventure as they paddle through this otherworldly environment. Catch a glimpse of a part of our planet that few ever get a chance to see, and marvel at what these intrepid kayakers find as they drift along.

Video: Yab Yum - Searching the Mayan Underworld (Part 3)

Today we have the third, and final, installment of a series of videos we've been sharing all week long that take us into the Yucatan in Mexico in search of some of the world's deepest caves. The series has followed explorer Robbie Schmittner and his team as cave dive into some amazing settings, where they discover remnants of the Mayan civilization that occupied the area centuries ago. In this episode, the crew descends into Yab Yum, a giant sinkhole where they make discoveries that date back to the last ice age.
(Note: If you've missed the first two parts of this excellent series, you'll find them here and here.)

Video: Just Breathe - Searching the Mayan Underworld (Part 2)

Today we return to the depths of an underwater cave in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, where explorers Robbie Schmittner and his partner Toddy Waelde continue to explore the sunken Maya underworld. This time out, not everything goes as planned however, and we see the challenges of trying to assist a diver who runs into trouble while deep within these caves. Scary stuff for sure.
(If you missed part 1 of this series, you'll find it here)

Video: Places of Fear - Searching the Mayan Underworld (Part 1)

A few days back I shared the trailer for a new series of short films coming our way from GoPro that followed a team of divers as they plunged into a cave on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico in hopes of finding the largest cavern in the entire world. Now, we have part one of that series which gives us an introduction of an entirely new kind of exploration – underwater, in mysterious caves, where there are remnants of the Mayan civilization yet to be discovered. It is a fascinating look at this incredible place that will definitely leave you wanting more. I'll have part two tomorrow.

Video: Diving into the Mayan Underworld

This video is a trailer for a much longer three-part documentary to come, but it gives us a great idea of what to expect. The film follows a team of divers – led by explorer Robbie Schmittner – who travel to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico in search of the world's largest cave. They discover an elaborate system of submerged caverns that the Mayans believed was a gateway to the underworld. They also find artifacts and remnants of that civilization that have been waiting to be discovered for hundreds of years. It looks like quite an adventure, and I'm already looking for the full series to hit at a later time.

World's Deepest Underwater Cave Discovered in Czech Republic

Earlier this week a team of explorers discovered the world's deepest underwater cave in the Czech Republic. The group – led my Polish diver Krzysztof Starnawski – located a limestone cave that had previously been unplumbed, determining that it reached a depth of 404 meters (1325 ft). That's 12 meters (39 ft) deeper than the previous record holder, which was found in Italy.

For Starnawski it was a return to a cave that he had first dove into back in 1999. While there he had noticed that the limestone formations in the interior of the cave had formed in a unique and unusual way. This led him to believe that it might drop to a great depth, although he had no idea that it would be a record breaker. The cave was apparently created by hot water, rich with carbon dioxide, that was bubbling up from below. This makes the interior of the cavern unlike most others that he has explored in the past.

Over the past two years, the Polish diver has spent time searching the cave for clues as to just how deep it truly went. He discovered a narrow passage that gave him a glimpse of the deepest recesses of the cavern, but it wasn't until another diver found that that passage had widened that they could actually go further down. On Tuesday, the team dropped an automated ROV into the cave and maneuvered it to the bottom, accurately determining its depth in the process.

National Geographic has posted an interview with Starnawski about the process of exploring the cave, and what he and his team discovered inside. You can read his thoughts on the this 25+ year odyssey and just how he went about recording the depth of the cave, here.

It is stories like this one that remind us about how little we truly know about our own planet. I'm sure there are plenty of other discoveries just like this that we have yet to stumble across. It is also a reminder of how important exploration remains, even in the 21st century.

Video: Nat Geo Takes Us Inside the World's Longest Sea Caves

Journey to New Zealand with National Geographic to explore the longest sea caves in the world. Geologist Nicolas Barth was studying active faults on the South Island when he decided to climb down some cliffs and go for a swim. What he discovered there was truly astounding.

Video: Paddling Through an Subterranean River in Mexico

Ever wonder what it would be like to kayak through one of the famous underground rivers of Mexico? Than you'll definitely want to take a look at this video, which comes our way courtesy of Outside magazine. It features pro kayakers Jared Meehan, Andrew Pollock, and Rafa Ortiz as they navigate through a 3 km (1.8 mile) stretch of the Rio Chontalcoatlán found inside Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park near the town of Guerrero. As you'll see, they got more than they bargained for when they set out to explore the depths of this cave using nothing but headlamps to find their way. Looks like an amazing adventure.

Video: Mountain Biking Through A Colombian Salt Mine

Professional mountain biker Marcelo Gutierrez knows what its like to push boundaries on his bike, but for this video he really took things to a new level. In shooting this clip, Marcelo went deep underground to ride through a subterranean salt mine in his home country of Colombia. His route started above ground in a small town, but eventually plunged under the Earth, where it came to and end in a spectacular unground cathedral. As you'll see here, it looks like it was quite an experience.

Video: Wingsuit Pilot Flies Through Two-Meter Cave

Precision wingsuit flying rarely fails to impress, and this video is no exception. It features pilot Uli Emanuele sailing through a narrow gap in a rock face that is just two meters in width. Of course, all of the action is captured on GoPro, giving us a first person perspective of what it is like to fly through this narrow passage at high speeds. This is not only very impressive, it is also quite terrifying. Watch at your own risk.

Video: Mountain Biking Through an Abandoned Mine

Ready for a dose of adrenaline? If you haven't been getting your daily allotted amount while I was away, this video will help you to catch up. It features pro rider Aaron Chase as he takes his mountain bike on a crazy ride through an abandoned mine in New Jersey. Don't try this at home kids. It is definitely not for the amateur mountain biker.

Video: A Journey into the World's Largest Cave

Located in Vietnam, the Hang Son Doong cave is one of the largest in the entire world. This video takes us on a journey inside that massive underground chamber, giving us a glimpse of he subterranean world that exists there. This short film was shot near the entrance to the cave, as well as at strategic points located at 2.5 km (1.5 miles) and 3.5 km (2.1 miles) inside. As you'll see, it is spectacular place for an adventure.

Hang Son Doong from Ryan Deboodt on Vimeo.