viernes, 7 de septiembre de 2012

Journey to the centre of the earth

Once feared by explorers as a killer cave where all but the most daring feared to tread these pictures show how humans have triumphed over the underworld.

At 3,680-feet deep (about two-thirds of a mile) six people, including one-female Briton have died while exploring the Gouffre Berger limestone cave in south eastern France.

It was the first cave to be explored over 1,000 metres under the surface of the Earth and was named after the man who discovered it - Frenchman Joseph Berger.


But now these stunning pictures show how safe the once deadly caves can be - with a huge group of 200-cavers descending in one huge expedition captured by British photographer Robbie Shone, 32, from Manchester.

'These cavers are adventurers descending for the thrill of it," said Robbie. 'This cave used to be considered dangerous but is now far more accessible to cavers.

'Because of how significant Gouffre Berger is in the history of caving reaching the bottom is a rite of passage for many inexperienced cavers. 


Into the abyss: The Gouffre Berger limestone cave in south eastern France was the first over 1,000 metres deep to be explored 

 Subterranean wonder: Six people have died accessing the underground lakes and labyrinthine caves

Teamwork: A caver awaits a ride in HMS Badger 1 at the bottom of Scialet des Fees Anglaises in the Gouffre Berger

 Setting off: Chris Blakeley climbs down Puit Aldos, one of the entrances to the feared Gouffre Berger 

World within a world: This caver's grueling descent is rewarded with this stunning view of an underwater pool




Last minute preparations: A group of 200-cavers descending in one huge expedition captured by British photographer Robbie Shone

 Careful: Chris Blakeley climbs a section called Puit Aldos. Six people have died exploring the cave

 Tight squeeze: Cavers crawl through a 10 metre stretch but other sections have lofty, cavernous spaces 


 Tight squeeze: Cavers crawl through a 10 metre stretch but other sections have lofty, cavernous spaces 

Cavernous: First discovered in 1953 it was the deepest known cave at the time

Flood fears: Because of Gouffre Berger's limestone walls water can quickly penetrate the cave after heavy rainfall
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