For the world speleological movement, 2021 is a special year in which to promote caves and karst as a treasure trove of knowledge, a resource for man and the environment, and the identity and memory of communities and territories. Italian speleology could not be less important.
The International Year of Caves and Karst is promoted by the International Union of Speleology and will see national associations, regional federations, groups and individual speleologists committed to promoting knowledge of the underground world, involving citizens, authorities and administrations in a process of dissemination and protection.
Speleologists and Cai instructors will talk about their experiences. Appointments online until 18 November
The karst landscape covers about 20% of the Earth’s surface. The morphologies that characterise its appearance are due to the dissolution of the rocky substratum and take many forms: from microforms to majestic and spectacular phenomena.
Most of them take place in the bowels of the earth, inside caves (in the photo those of Frasassi). Natural and artificial cavities are invaluable resources, natural laboratories where geological phenomena and extremely specialised life forms can be studied. Hundreds of these caves are open to the public and are visited by around 150 million tourists every year, providing important support to many national economies.
Many of the sites are Unesco World Heritage Sites, not to mention that karst aquifers provide about 10% of the world’s drinking water and include the largest wells and springs on Earth.
Appointments are scheduled with Sardinia (29 April), Campania (27 May), Veneto (24 June), Umbria (22 July), Emilia-Romagna (23 September), Liguria, Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta (all together on 21 October) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (18 November).