About Speleology

V.N. Dublyansky popular-science essay "Entertaining speleology"

Caves have general geographic, aesthetic and environmental value. That determines the need for a comprehensive study and strict protection of the caves, creation of the reservations on this basis, equipment most of them for tourist and sightseeing purposes.

First, let's define what the cave is. Dictionaries give you dozens definitions proposed in 30-80 years of XX century. If we ignore the scientific debate, the cave is a natural underground space accessible to man, the whole world with its morphology, climate, water, sediments, animals, plants.

Exploring caves being done by a special science speleology (from the Greek "speleon" – cave). The term were proposed in 1890 by French archaeologist Emile River. In the same year it was employed as a scientific definition of the cave science by one of it’s founders Frenchman Edouard Alfred Martel. In 1928, at the University of Vienna has opened the world's first Institute of Speleology.

It is clear that speleology being done by speleologists. Who are they? Speleologist – is a cave researcher. But just to open a new "hole" and even descent to it – does not mean to research... Explore – is to do a series of special measurements and observations, which are only possible if being done by a scientific researcher. On the other hand, the entire underground complex studies (geological, biological, archaeological) are possible only if you have a specific sports training... Based on this in the 50's. were proposed a formula SPELEOLOGY = SCIENCE+SPORT. What in a particular case is in the first place – it depends on the purpose of the expedition: if the first ascent – then, of course, sports (but necessarily – with elements of science!) If the research – the science (but subject to the fulfillment of all sports requirements needed for trouble-free passage through the object).