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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Cave Adventurers

BY THE EDITOR   

Before the advent of civilisation humans had been living in caves for safety and comfort. Now scientists are attracted by the natural beauty and fascinated by the secrets of the caves inspiring them to explore and keep their findings on record for future references. Caves had been

formed by constant actions of rain on rocks for centuries. They may be very big and long some of them being 150 meters or 500 feet in diameter and nearly 400 meters or 1,300 feet in length for a single chamber. A complete cave system may stretch up to 100 km or 60 miles or more. Caves hollowed out of limestone or related rocks like gypsum and marble are called solution caves which are also known as caverns. Other types of caves are sea caves, lava caves,  glacial ice caves and split rock or boulder caves. Men have used caves for many thousands of years, at first as shelter from the elements and wild beasts and for prehistoric rituals. They have left records like sketches and paintings for posterity.

In his address to the nation on the 104th episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the Meghalaya resident Brian D.Kharpran Daly for his spirit of adventure in exploring caves and popularising them. Modi called him a great personality who has a great interest in speleology which is the scientific study of caves. Modi informed that Brian became interested in caves after reading several books on them and his first exploration was in 1964 when he was still in school. In later years he organised the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association and in 1990 he started exploring the caves in the state. Through their relentless efforts they were able to discover more than 1700 caves in Meghalaya and put the state on the World cave map. Some of the deepest and longest caves are present in Meghalaya. The team has been organising expedition for the last 30 years.

Brian confessed that they had to face innumerable difficulties in the past and it was only through hard work and strong determination that they could achieve so much. The acknowledgement by the Prime Minister and encouragement by the state government are inspiring and encouraging to him and his team to continue the commitment further. He informed that the largest cave system was discovered in 2019 and urged the people and authorities to be aware and therefore protect these rich treasures. He and six other members returned from Ireland recently on August 11 after four weeks in that country where they had gone for training sessions, cave leadership, cave rope work and rescue. They also had a session in the Indian Embassy on invitation by the Ambassador Akhilesh Mishra. The next expedition will be held in February which will last for about four weeks but smaller ones can be held at other times too.

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