Speleologist

Uncover the scientific secrets of caves.

What does a Speleologist do?

A Scientist, a Speleologist is the professional equivalent of a Caver or Spelunker, which are two names given to people who explore caves for fun. Unlike those who visit caves recreationally, however – for thrills, adventure, or curiosity – a Speleologist’s relationship with caves is strictly business, involving serious scientific study.

Caves are Mother Nature’s secret hiding place. Just as people have a hiding place where they stash their secret stuff – be it jewelry, cash, or love letters – nature has a hiding place where a lot of scientific secrets can be discovered. For people, it might be a wall safe behind a piece of art, a shoebox in the closet, or the back of a drawer in the bureau, beneath socks and underwear. For Mother Nature, however, it’s caves – and when you’re a Speleologist, it’s your job to explore them.

Because speleology is a cross-disciplinary field that combines several scientific areas of study, your background might be that of a Chemist, Biologist, Geologist, Hydrologist, or Cartographer. As long as your work is in and about caves, however, you qualify as a Speleologist.

Depending on your area of expertise, you might study the geological formation of caves, or the mineral deposits within caves, including stalactites and stalagmites. You might also study the creation of accurate and detailed cave maps, or the animals, insects, and microorganisms that live inside caves. Regardless, you spend your days traveling to and within cave systems, then taking detailed notes, photographs, and samples in order to learn new things about cave environments. Ultimately, you write scientific reports that allow you to share your findings with others.

Because you turn caves into laboratories – a la the Batcave – in a way, you’re like a real-life Batman. All you’re missing is a Batmobile!