Virtual Reality Caving
You don't necessarily have to go underground to see what
caves are like. Computers enable us to tour a cave in a virtual reality
environment, where you can turn to look around you and take a closer look
at something of interest. Check out the simple virtual reality example
below and then try one of the sites listed at the bottom of the page.
To the right is a regular photo taken looking out
the entrance of Trout Cave in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Several
cavers are admiring the view of the valley below through a surprise
snow squall that arrived while they were in the cave.
Trout Cave is owned by the National
Speleological Society and is one of three caves on the John
Guilday Cave Preserve property.
This 360° panorama taken in the main passage
of Trout Cave, a short distance inside the entrance (visible in
the background of the opening view).
Explore by moving the picture -- click on it with
your mouse and then drag it or use your arrow keys after clicking
on it. Use the 'Shift' key to zoom in and the 'Ctrl' key to zoom
free Apple QuickTime
Player plug-in is required to view this panorama.
The circle and arrow overlaid on
the entrance portion of the Trout Cave map below shows the approximate
camera location and initial direction of view for the panorama.
Map (copyright 1993 by David West)
is from "The Caves and Karst of Pendleton County" by George
R. Dasher, West Virginia Speleological Survey Bulletin #15, August
Visit The Virtual
Cave where you can see examples of many cave formations with a description
of how they are formed.
For a next step, try a self guided tour of Ogof
Ffynnon Ddu with the South Wales Caving Club or the
York Grotto On-Line Caving Experience.
If you like the idea of virtual caving, there are some really
spectacular and professionaly done virtual reality cave tours
available on the Internet. These two caves are in Slovenia --
A word of caution: the panoramas can be big files and may not
be suitable if you are using a slow dial-up connection to the