SPELEOLOGY | Exploring the viscera of the Earth
Mankind has always been attracted by the exploration of the cavities in the ground: caves, grottos and ravines, since prehistoric times, have represented a refuge and also a reason for knowledge for the human being, who then left a testimony of his presence in these places with cave paintings.
In modern times, the exploration of caves has become a real scientific and even sporting discipline, speleology, which follows in the first case scientific protocols for the collection of information and samples of rock in the subsoil, while in the second case it is mainly the exploration of the karst caves. There are different types of caving: in addition to the traditional cave study, there is the one that follows the volcanic activities (lava caves), the underwater speleology, which combines the research activities in the underground paths with the sub techniques, and the urban speleology, which studies tunnels and ravines of anthropic origin, above all ancient excavations, mines and sewage networks: a representative case of this activity are the explorations to the Roman catacombs.
The clothing and equipment of the speleologist recall in part that of the climber, for the presence of ropes and carabiners to secure the route. However, other components are needed, such as artificial lights, folding ladders and specific boots for underground activity.