Cave Guide Myths

The history of cave exploration, like so man parts of science, is riddled with fanciful errors and mindless complacency. In geology, as in hardly any other science, many theories are based to a large extent on speculation and only to a small extent on facts. It is therefore hardly surprising that new theories usually only gain acceptance when the older generation of luminaries dies off. This is what happened to Alfred Wegener with his continental drift. This theory, which is accepted worldwide today, only became generally accepted 30 years after his death, after his bitter opponents at the time had also passed away.

This mechanism applies all the more to speleology. It is usually regarded as part of geology, and only the hydrological aspect is considered worthwhile. Speleological chairs are as rare as snow in the Sahara. Today, as in the past, speleology is therefore practised by amateurs and autodidacts, which makes it all the more obscure in the eyes of many scientists.

And show caves, or their operators and cave guides, support this process by spreading misconceptions and misunderstandings for decades. This is understandable, after all they are not scientists, but nevertheless annoying. Sometimes, however, it is also funny.