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Subterranean
February 13, 2011 12:09 PM   Subscribe

A brief survey of remarkable grottos: some, like the Nottingham Limestone Caves, have been expanded over time by human habitation and digitally surveyed in high resolution. Some have been turned into temples or castles. Sometimes they are at the bottom of the world, beneath Mount Erebus.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (22 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Loved the flythrough. Loved the underground drinking den.

The Erebus ice caves remind me of footage I've seen of Inuit harvesting shellfish from the temporary "caves" under harbour sea ice at low tide. The footage I'm remembering made me feel very claustrophobic but there's this other footage at the top if this page.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:30 PM on February 13, 2011


Nottingham Limestone Caves, previously.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:41 PM on February 13, 2011


Slovenia's castle is... impressive.
GOOD GOD I WANNA GO THERE!
posted by artof.mulata at 12:50 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, thank you for this.
posted by ltracey at 12:51 PM on February 13, 2011


This was very interesting, thanks for the post.
posted by waviolet at 1:32 PM on February 13, 2011


My claustrophobia thanks you as well. I particularly value cave photography, because I can't bear the thought of getting down in there myself.

(Does anyone know if there are any Antarctic locations that have been given Lovecraftian names? Scientists can be pretty geeky about these things, and I would think it would be only fitting.)
posted by Countess Elena at 1:32 PM on February 13, 2011


Also, I cannot recall the name because I heard it in an audio program, but there is a network of Neolithic caves in Turkey carved into volcanic tuff, a light, spongy material, and it practically constitutes a city. I am always on the lookout for more information about that place.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:35 PM on February 13, 2011


I've spent about ten weeks (loosely) in the shadow of Mt. Erebus, yet I've never gotten off my butt to go out and actually see it up close. Hopefully next year I'll be more "proactive" (less lazy?) and take advantage of some of the wonderous stuff down here.

Countess Elena, I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't at least something with a Lovecraftian name here--as it does quite fit most of the place. Town is mostly volcanic dust & lunar, here on the Ross ice shelf--all ice as far as you can see (we do get amazing mirages from time to time). Just the other day I was rambling on about the way the ice crystals hiss when the wind kick up and if it were dark and you were surrounded by a low hiss on the wind...makes a person shudder.

The Antarctic Sun Webzine thing
posted by ironbob at 1:57 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Useless tidbit for the day: Apparently the USGS has some policy about naming things according to some boring convention that puts dead scientists above pulp fiction writers. So, as far as i can tell, there's nothing of geological significance named for anything Lovecraftian.

So to correct that matter, I've renamed our resident skua Yog-Sothoth
posted by ironbob at 2:35 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Countess Elena, the Turkish caves you're describing sound like the sort of stuff you find all over the place in Cappadocia.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:37 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it 2002? What's with the tiny size of those pictures on webecoist?
posted by toekneebullard at 2:38 PM on February 13, 2011



So to correct that matter, I've renamed our resident skua Yog-Sothoth


He makes a very find Yog-Sothoth! All hail the mighty Yog!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:45 PM on February 13, 2011


Er, "fine Yog-Sothoth."
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:45 PM on February 13, 2011


Aw, li'l' ol' Yog-Sothoth! Polar-adapted birds are the cutest, I think. It's their layers of feathers and squishiness.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:03 PM on February 13, 2011


And there are the Temples of Damanhur
posted by Will Duck at 3:33 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bandolier National Monument in New Mexico has some really extensive cliff dwellings carved into the volcanic tuff.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:05 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The important thing is to be well-behaved when you visit these, otherwise you'll be made persona non grotto.
posted by greatgefilte at 4:55 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


That one brings you right into the deepest dungeon. Water and a dictionary and no visitors.
posted by Namlit at 5:44 PM on February 13, 2011


Just recently I was checking what constitutes a grotto. The dictionary definition says, "small cave, with attractive features." It seems "attractive features" in this sense fit the legal concept of "attractive nuisance," which could be an architectural element, that just happens to be the right height for sitting on, so it becomes the equivalent to a public bench. Grottos also have the connotation of a small cave that has a history of being used by people.

The most attractive feature that a grotto can have is a spring, with its attendant spring nymphs. The storm nymphs can be a handful.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:51 PM on February 13, 2011


This way-nifty book has a substantial section at the beginning on the history and aesthetics of grottoes. Highly recommended.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:08 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a cool post! Thanks!
posted by the_royal_we at 5:13 AM on February 14, 2011


Gorgeous images, those Mount Erebus ones.

"Close flying shows many cave mouths, some unusually regular in outline, square or semicircular. You must come and investigate. "
posted by doctornemo at 6:23 AM on February 14, 2011


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