Please do not read this if you want anything other than a sarcastic rant about bad ‘journalism’.
As a seasoned writer of cave trip reports read by at most 1300 people – that is the highest total number of views per report and if only 10% of those are actually people reading them then 130 is actually a large proportion of the UK Caving Community. By that last comment I do not mean the CRoW argument merry-go-round where the same 6 armchair cavers trade insults, but rather the larger community of 5000 – 10,000 cavers. For the sake of argument call it 6,500 and my 130 is a magnificent 2%. Those last few boring, ill considered sentences with, poorly chosen grammar – reflecting my pattern of speech more than anything… is nothing compared to some of the laziest clickbait journalism I’m about to review. A half hour of lazy googling from a disinterested person posted on Buzzfeed will reach FAR more people than I ever could and my attempt at sarcasm serves only to soothe my punctured ego. By the way, all their stuff is in bold. As always.
16 Reasons Never To Mess With Caves
Cavemen had a really tough time.
Great start. This is going to be painful…
1. So caves are really beautiful and magical places full of fairies right?
That is a picture of a cave and that is pretty. Not Otter hole or Berger pretty but a nice set of pillars and stals. Shame there’s no scale but the photo does show the line of the rock really well. It’s a great photo. Where is it? That doesn’t matter apparently. As for fairies and magic, where did that come from?
2. This is the largest cave chamber in the world, isn’t it pretty and roomy?
Our most famous caving alum of recent times, that lucky #@%$! Mr. Robbie Shone. Wouldn’t you like to do what he does for a living? Oh well, I can’t even take a straight picture underground (nor overground for that matter). So far Flo Perry (an excellent name for an alcoholic beverage – patent it, trust me), so good.
No you’re wrong.
3. Well what if all the light bulbs went huh? Not so pretty then.
You are fantastically funny. Such vacant content backed up with a large black rectangle. It’s a bit cliché but even I understand, as a Pom de terre, that low hanging fruit has to be snatched. Technically I should change that last joke to Taff de terre being Welsh, but this is already taking too long.
And even the most up to date head torches only extend to about 150 feet so when you first wander into a large cave chamber there is going to be lots of little corners you can’t quite see.
Only 50m. I mean think about it, if you were limited to that then everything would be impossible. I can’t go for a poo unless I can see 50m. I couldn’t eat a sandwich without scoping for predators and everyone knows that Velociraptors would be able to run that in under 3 seconds (40 mph = 17.9m/s). Despite still being able to have a driving license (you only need to be able to read a plate at 20m) and driving to speeds of almost 50 mph and still being able to judge braking distance, if you can’t see more than 50m you may as well be blind.
Wait a minute, extend?
4. Caves go down a really long way.
This a map of the Krubera Cave in Georgia, which at the moment is the deepest known cave on earth. It is the first cave to have been explored to a depth of below 2000m.
The cavers who explore these caves spend weeks underground, setting up base camps, a lot like mountaineers, except upside down in the dark. Fun huh?
I would love to bottom that… *sigh*. Oh, we got a name and a place, back off Flo – too many details.
We do set up base camps, but not upside down in the dark. That seems… counter-productive and unnecessary. We don’t go so deep that gravity switches round, y’know (that last bit was ‘folksy’ so that Buzzfeed would understand it).
5. And even though a lot of caves are really big. They are also very small at the same time.
Huh, Rocky in a cave – strangely fitting.
6. And sometimes you have to squeeze for a long time. In a description of the exploration of Krubera, caver Alexander Klimchouk describes how his team got a bit stuck at over 1775 metres down.
“In a last ditch effort, Denis Kurta and Dmitry Fedotov squeezed through a narrow, 100-meter-long (328-foot-long) passage called the Way to the Dream, which successfully bypassed the sump and pointed steeply down.”
Yeah it’s a lot easier to notice the loss in formatting when there’s no picture. Krubera again? I think that’s the only cave apart from Ted’s cave. I refuse to link you to that. I’m not sure this quote helps the article at all. What’s the definition of narrow? That varies a lot with cavers. How many of your readers will know what a sump is? What is the relevance of its continuing downward trajectory? You’ve not really set a scene here. 1775 scares the American Revolution out of me, but to normal people what does that mean? To be honest I’d like to know how long it takes to get there and what the size limit is. Never mind…But there aren’t any good quotes to choose from, anywhere…
7. THIS DOES NOT LOOK FUN.
8. But we’re not that sure that Krubera is the deepest cave, as so many caves are unexplored.
That is the Cave of Crystals in Mexico and it was only discovered in the year 2000 accidentally by miners. And it’s only 120 metres below the surface.
9. You’re probably sitting on top of the world’s deepest cave right now.*
10. Also things live in caves. And we’re not talking about your basic bat here. Things that exist entirely in caves, including whole species that have evolved to live in just one cave.
Like the Devil’s hole pupfish, the world’s rarest fish, found only in a single cave in Nevada. Sadly these cute little fish are very much on the brink of extinction, with at last count only 35 left.
Though recent research suggests that they might not have been around for as long as everyone thinks, and could have been introduced originally through human intervention.
BASIC BAT?! I hear the conservationists scream in pain at your ignorance. Bats are interesting, seriously. Do some reading, watch ‘Planet Earth’. Don’t dismiss our mammalian brethren over some lost fish.
That link is actually to some research, that is roughly as described. A nice pleasant surprise. They don’t look too troglobitic to me, so it wasn’t a massive surprise.
11. A lot of these unique species are pseudoscorpions, which are tiny horrible mash-ups between scorpions and spiders.
Even though they don’t have a tail some of them have venomous pinchers, in case you were worriers about the little fellows all on their own in the dark.
That one doesn’t. But let’s extend it to all pseudoscorpions for the sake of argument – which also exist above ground too in the US, however above ground you can see them from 50m away so you’re safe. They are fairly small though.
12. This lives in a cave.
That’s the Kaua‘i cave wolf spider. It was only discovered in 1973 and lives in just a few caves in Hawaii. Like a lot of other cave creatures, the Kaua‘i cave wolf spider has evolved to have no eyes at all.
A lot of eyeless cave creatures use their eye sockets as fat reserves, and get around with their super nerves detecting tiny temperature or air-pressure changes.
He lives above ground:
By Nan Palmero from San Antonio, TX, USA (CES 2011) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ll take my chances with the Spider – which is awesome! Would have loved a scale, or even just knowing what sort of cave it lived in. Given Hawaii is ‘quite’ volcanic, I’m guessing these aren’t conventional caves… But a cave’s a cave’s a cave and all that. Sea caves, Ice caves, Mines, Volcanoes, ‘normal’ caves – they’re all the same *weeps*. Just like the rest of the great outdoors.
13. Cave creatures live forever.
OK not forever, but yhe Orconectes australis crayfish of Shelta Cave in Alabama lives for 175 years, which is basically forever if you’re a puny human, and it can still reproduce at 100. This is because the only way they can manage the horrible conditions of the cave, such as hardly any food and very low oxygen levels, is to slow there whole life process down.
175 years is not basically forever. It’s double a western lifespan you blinkered exaggerist. There’s a 4,800 year old Pine in California. A Quahog clam lived to 507. It’s really not that hard to use wikipedia and gain some perspective. This is one example, how long do you think all the other cave creatures live?
Why is it a ‘horrible’ environment? That water has little bacteria in it compared to a normal river, which in turn has less than a sewage pipe. The latter is a horrible environment. An absence of predators, constant temperatures and a steady food supply for those with a slow metabolism make it a lovely safe place to live. Very low oxygen? That damn molecule messes up our cells and is the reason we are just big Catalase factories (look it up).
14. “But as long as I just avoid caves I’ll be OK right?” WRONG!
Caves are what cause sinkholes, which is when the roof of a cave becomes weakened and then collapses. NOT FUN.
Never caused by mines, broken water mains or a sewer collapse. Slander I say! Slander! Caves are pretty stable… compared to mines and mountains. Erosion is a long process on the geological time scale so surprises tend to be few and far between. To put that in context we’re talking every couple of thousand years, infinitely longer than forever.
15. To sum up. Caves are really deep, but we don’t know how deep.
And most of them are completely unexplored. Lots of them contain unique species only found in that cave. Which means there are almost definitely some new species in all the unexplored caves. To get to these caves you would have to squeeze through lots of horribly small tunnels, which looks like the worst thing ever.
And sometimes they collapse and swallow up your house.
Wrong! No new content and same old slanderous drivel. I think it would have looked better with a semi-colon. You don’t have to squeeze to get to a lot of these caves and I’m pretty sure that Genocide ranks worse a dry, sandy, gentle squeeze. You could have explained that not all caves are tunnels, some are canyon like or ‘vadose’ in the lingo. the above is a section of what was a large phreas. Extend that curve into a tube; pretty big wouldn’t you say? It’s all to do with whether they’re formed under pressure or not but actually engaging with the subject matter and creating an article that could astound and inspire people into discovering their world is a bit too much for a keyboard jockey with a deadline.
As for swallowing up your house: Talk to a certain Eyam resident, don’t think he’s too worried (he’s even digging one out under his house).
16. In fact geologist Professor Ian Stewart once saidthis:
Good for him. We mostly stick to limestone above sea level. It’s funny because that’s how that BBC article that you linked to ended, albeit the paragraph prior to the penultimate. I’m tired now. Thank you for reading my pointless critique of a bad list and carry on caving!
PS I average about 2 words per view so 1151 are going to need to ‘read’ this diatribe.