The Discovery of the Route Which Allowed Explorers to First Climb Mount Everest

British born George Mallory, the person tasked with heading the team who first set out to climb Mount Everest in 1921, overlooked what is now used as the doorway to Mount Everest, the entry point of East Rongbuk Glacier. When Mallory first viewed this entry point, a narrow cliff within the mountainside wall, he dismissed it as too modest and small to warrant further investigation. Canadian Oliver Wheeler however was educated in the science of topography and geography from his father who surveyed the Canadian west coast Rocky Mountains and because of this, he did not view the dimensions of the cut to be as important as the pulse of water pouring out of that cut every afternoon. This enormous volume of expelled water signaled to Wheeler that a glacier had to be present at the head of the valley as it was the only possible explanation which fit. On July 30, 1921, Wheeler set out for the East Rongbuk Glacier and as he anticipated, he was able to make it up the ice field within 6 short days. As the East Rongbuk Glacier widened and curved around, it came directly to the base of the North Col, a sharp edged pass carved by glaciers in the ridge connecting Mount Everest and Changtse (pronounced “chang-see”). This opening became the key to unlocking Mount Everest and is still leveraged by climbers into the modern day. 6 days after setting out, on August 4, 1921, Wheeler sent a dak runner, which is essentially a Tibetan messenger, with a sketched map indicating his discovered exploit of the armor of Mount Everest for Mallory

The Oldest Artwork in Human History

Near the Ardeche River (pronounced “arr-desh”) in southern France, less than 0.5 kilometers away, 3 explorers set out a few days before Christmas in 1994. While seeking drafts of air emanating from the ground which would point to the presence of caves, these explorers found a subtle airflow which was blockaded by rocks. The explorers found a narrow shaft which was cut into the cliffside, so narrow in fact that their bodies could just barely squeeze through it. Deep inside the cave the explorers stumbled upon the oldest known cave paintings in human history, twice as old as any other artistic depiction made by human hands. The cave itself had been perfectly sealed for tens of thousands of years which is why this 32,000 year old artwork was found in pristine condition. In honor of the lead discover Jean-Marie Chauvet (pronounced “zhan mah-ree sho-vee”), the cave was named “Chauvet Cave”. The French Ministry of Culture controls all access to the cave, an intervention which was rapidly implemented as this discovery was immediately understood as an enormous scientific find, perhaps one of the greatest anthropological and artistic discoveries ever made. Scientists and art historians are typically the only members of the public permitted access to Chauvet Cave, with archeologists, paleontologists, and geologists being the most common interdisciplinary teams provided entry

The Reason Why Underground Caves Naturally Form

cave

Cave systems form when acidic water etches its way through rock. Rainwater becomes acidic as it takes in carbon dioxide and groundwater can become acidic due to the acids found in nearby soil. Water causes existing cracks within the rock to widen into passages which the water flows through to create even wider channels. Over time caverns begin to form as the rock weakens and falls