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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.


Photo: Entrance of  Trout Cave, looking out into a late November snow storm

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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.

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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 out.

Logo: Apple QuickTimeThe 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: entrance area of Trout Cave

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 2001


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 Internet.

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  Copyright 2002-2004, Bob Robins
  Last Updated: October 2, 2006