Robbie Shone @shonephoto

Photographer / Explorer Committed to creating unique images of exploration from our extreme subterranean world. @natgeoimagecollection @NatGeo

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Robbie Shone photos and videos

Yesterday

We retreated from our final cave to the warmth of the 24-hour sunlight. Our time in Northeast Greenland was drawing to a close. As an interdisciplinary team of eleven people with seven nationalities, we’d achieved so much. We’d visited already-known caves, discovered, explored and mapped new ones, collected samples for climate change research, microbiology, glaciology and geology. The expedition was definitely a success, but even though this part has now drawn to a close the hard work is only just beginning. Over the next five years many scientists will work on the samples to improve our understanding of how one of the most sensitive regions in the Arctic will respond in a warmer world. Thanks to the FWF for funding the project and @petzl_official and @hiltiaustria for supporting us with gear. Also thank-you to our long-standing supporters, without you this project wouldn’t be where it is today! #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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2 days ago

At the end of the crawl where we were careful not to knock off any of the hoar frost crystals in the roof we emerged into a tall circular chamber. Hanging precariously in the roof was a boulder stuck to the ice. Who knows how that ended up there? Because of the tall nature of this chamber, it was photographed as an upwards panorama of 6 horizontal images. #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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3 days ago

We climbed the bouldery ramp in Stig Strikes Again (cave ) and headed towards an icy back wall. Normally these icy walls completely block the cave preventing further exploration. This one was different. At the top of the ramp we discovered a black hole framed in sparkling white hoar frost crystals. It led to the way on. The passage was low. We crawled carefully so as not to destroy any of the delicate hoar frost crystals that hung in the roof. #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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4 days ago

Whilst one team explored the northern side of Grottedalen, a second team moved west along southern Grottedalen. They discovered a canyon full of caves, it was like Swiss cheese. Seen here is one of the the most significant caves we discovered in that new canyon. We jokingly referred to it as 'Stig Strikes Again' as it was yet another cave discovered by our helicopter pilot. The entrance had stunning bedding planes full of fossils, and as we climbed to the top of the bouldery ramp we could see an icy wall in front of us. By this point we had found that icy walls normally mean the cave doesn't 'go'. This one was different.... #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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5 days ago

The northern side of Grottedalen yielded two really stunning caves. The first, Crystal Kingdom, was shown yesterday. The second, Crystal Crawl, shown here was a beautiful tube sparkling with tiny icy crystals. The cave once had significant calcite deposits, which today are all naturally broken and lying on the floor. Here Gina is taking notes and collecting some of these broken samples. We're excited to get them in the lab and find out how old they are. #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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6 days ago

Crystal Kingdom gave up some amazing secrets. Shortly beyond the entrance the cave took a 90' bend. We were amazed at what hung in the roof. Huge hoar frost crystals the size of dinner plates. They were so pristine and beautiful. The light from our headlamps showed us their perfect structure and icy crystal layers. #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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1 weeks ago

After exploring Kate’s Cove cave we headed back over to Grottedalen to take a look at some potential caves that we thought we could see through binoculars during our 2015 expedition. Back then, they were tiny black dots in the distance-too far away to tell if they were shadows or not, and too far away to reach on foot. This time, with the advantage of the helicopter, we were able to cover a lot more ground. Pictured here is the icy entrance to Crystal Kingdom (named after tomorrow's picture ). At present this is one of the most northerly explored caves on the planet. #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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2 weeks ago

Unfortunately Grotte de Quatre didn't yield any calcite samples for the climate change project, but nevertheless it did yield some interesting cave passages. With multiple entrances and multiple passages it was one of the most developed caves that we explorwd during the expedition. Here, our medic Pete is making his way up one of the meanders which was formed a long time ago by the action of water cutting its way down into the limestone. #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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2 weeks ago

The main reason for moving to Camp 2 was to visit Grotte de Quatre (pictured ), which was discovered in the 80’s during an expedition by a French team. For a Greenland cave it is quite complex. It has multiple entrances and several passages. We wanted to investigate it to look for calcite, but unfortunately we didn’t find any. #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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2 weeks ago

We explored Kate’s Cove cave as far as we could. Into the blackness we went down a steep boulder pile into the depths of the cave. The floor was strewn with rocks and the walls were cold to touch. We had never been in a cave before where the rocks were so cold. The expedition medic even suggested I had frost nip at one point! After about 80m, the bouldery floor gave way to a narrow slot. Pictured here, Chris is bridging his way over the top of the slot. We climbed down to see if it led to a way on. It got colder and colder and at its deepest point measured -17.1’C. Could this be the coldest cave in the world? Who knows. #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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2 weeks ago

Beyond the pool of ice that lay in the entrance of the cave (see yesterday's photo ), we scrambled up a small pile of rocks towards an icy roof. We were eagre to see if this cave would 'go', as exploration of most caves in Greenland is swiftly halted by a wall of ice. As we climbed, it got colder and colder; the temperature difference from the start of the ramp to the end was striking. Icy stalagmites poked up like candlesticks from the floor, and sparkly hoar frost crystals covered the ceiling. Our anticipation of what lay beyond was not disappointed, as we neared the top, we were greeted with the sight of blackness. Our excitement rose. The cave passage continued! We were about to go exploring! #80degreesnorth #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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2 weeks ago

Since the entrance of Kate’s Cove cave contains a wall to wall pool of very slippery ice, Chris rigged a handline across the left wall. This allowed us to safely enter the cave and also protected the ice from getting dirty and damaged. At this point we still didn’t know what lay beyond; we could only see the pile of breakdown rocks and walls covered in hoarfrost on the far side of the ice. #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves #80degreesnorth

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2 weeks ago

The entrance to Kate’s Cove cave contained a floor of ice from which we collected a sample to analyse the modern water chemistry. This information is important for setting the palaeoclimate record, which is obtained from the stalagmites, in the context of the modern climate signal. #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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2 weeks ago

Kate’s Cove cave (pictured ) was first spotted by our helicopter pilot Stig-Erick and Paul Smith during the initial mobilisation to Camp 1. We didn’t get to explore it though until we moved to Camp 2. The whole team were very excited, because we’d heard great things about this big entrance filled with ice. We were not disappointed. The cave turned out to be our longest discovered cave this year. At 104m long, this makes it the longest explored cave in Greenland. For sure this record will be broken with time, however if you want to know more about what Greenland’s current longest cave looks like, stay tuned! #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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3 weeks ago

With the 24-hour daylight, Camp 1 was very successful. We spent 4 nights there collecting calcite samples for palaeoclimate reconstruction and glacial history, as well as undertaking some geological mapping. We then moved to Camp 2. Whilst the rotations were being done with the helicopter, Gina worked on some photographic survey data from the caves (photogrammetry ). #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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3 weeks ago

Cairn Climb cave is named after the climb mentioned in yesterday’s post and the cairn in the entrance. We were asked by the National Museum in Nuuk to take a photograph of the cairn for their records so that they could find out if it was of further interest. In the top there was small piece of handkerchief with some very faint letters just visible. To this day we are still unsure who built the cairn and when? #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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3 weeks ago

Another objective of the expedition was to re enter this cave known as Cairn Climb cave, which we had explored in 2015. Accessing the cave is quite difficult and requires climbing up a 6m overhanging wall. Chris soloed the route first and then rigged a safety rope to make it easier for the rest of us to climb in. #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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3 weeks ago

Crystal Palace (cave ) lies high above the valley floor and yields stunning views looking northwest over Grottedalen. Collecting calcite samples from this cave was one of the main objectives of the expedition. In 2015, we discovered several thick flowstone sequences that we couldn’t sample at the time due to a lack of resources. In 2019, we returned with coring and grinding equipment (courtesy of @hiltiaustria ). These tools were invaluable as they allowed us to cut large sequences down to more manageable size pieces. This meant we only took from the cave what we needed. We were also careful to sample from naturally broken material, where possible. Here, Chris is grinding a sample down into smaller pieces, whilst Gina and Paul are examining a potential sample to assess its suitability for palaeoclimate work. #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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3 weeks ago

The first third of the expedition was based in the same place as the 2015 expedition. Camp 1 was setup beneath the cave bearing cliffs which would be the focus of the work over the next 3 days. Whilst polar bears are not common in this area, we still took the necessary precautions in terms of camp management. The cook tent was downwind of the sleeping tents at some distance, and we erected an alarmed trip wire fence around the sleeping quarters (seen here ). #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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3 weeks ago

This years expedition started very similar to the 2015 expedition. The team of 9 flew up the east coast of Greenland in a twin otter crammed full of gear and food needed for the following few weeks. Twin otters are noisy, unpressurised aircraft, which means that it flies fairly low giving a good view of the landscape underneath. On the 4th July after 3 twin otter flights, we landed on the sandy spit of land seen here jutting out into the SW end of Centrum Sø. You can just about make out the landing strip. From here a helicopter transferred us in 5 rounds to camp 1 in Grottedalen. #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange @greenland_caves

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4 weeks ago

In 2015, I took part in the first @greenland_caves expedition to Northeast Greenland. That original expedition was full of adventure; it involved flying as far as we could in a twin otter to a tiny landing strip on a sandy spit of land in the middle of nowhere. We inflated a boat and crossed a 20 km wide lake, and then hiked for three days to get to some small seemingly insignificant caves near the top of the world. At the time we didn’t know it would become a recce expedition, and would lead on to years of research. Project leader Prof. Gina Moseley collected samples of cave calcite to use to reconstruct records of past climate change. The pilot data proved highly important, and resulted in a prestigious FWF Start prize, enabling the research to continue for the next 6 years. On July 3rd, 2019, 9 people set off on an interdisciplinary expedition back to 80’N. Over the next few weeks I’ll upload a photo a day, unravelling the story of the expedition and its amazing discoveries. #GreenlandCavesProject #Greenland #pioneerwoman #science #research #explorer #womeninscience #womeninstem #stem #arctic #arcticexploration #exploration #climatechange

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2 weeks ago

We are in Iceland and heading home following the most unbelievable expedition to northeast Greenland. We discovered so many incredible caves, more than we ever could have imagined, collected great scientific samples of calcite for the Greenland Caves Project, which will hopefully continue to push the boundaries of climate science in Greenland. At -17.1’C one of the caves we found could be the coldest recorded cave in the world! It has been a very long journey to this point and I am incredibly proud of Gina for pulling this all together. @greenland_caves #GreenlandCavesProject #80degreesnorth

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last month

In just three days time, we depart on an expedition that has been decades in the making. Professor Gina Moseley of the University of Innsbruck and leader of the Greenland Caves Project ( @greenland_caves ) will lead a team of ten scientists including glaciologists, paleo-geochronologists, micro biologist, permafrost experts, explorers, photographers and a medical doctor to study and sample the remote landscape of an area in the northeast corner of Greenland in Kronsprins Christian Land. #Greenland #GreenlandCaves #climatechange #science #research #womeninscience #womeninstem #STEM #expedition #exploration @uniinnsbruck @greenland_caves

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last month

We have just returned to civilisation after exploring Veryovkina - currently the worlds deepest cave! Following last years epic trip where we all nearly drowned during the flood at the bottom, it sure feels good to finally complete our original objective. The Caucasus mountains in Abkhazia will remain a very special place in my heart. This beautiful landscape is a great place to be based during such a physically and mentally demanding expedition as this one is. Thanks to the Moscow based Perovo Speleo Caving Club for organising another amazing experience. We will return! #everestoftheunderworld #explore #cave #worldsdeepestcave #exploration #Abkhazia #Caucasus #underground @NatGeo

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June 2019

Last in this sequence of cave photographs from China. Large stalagmites line up like a gateway at the foot of a giant ascending ramp to another level of development in San Wang Dong, China. They create a magical spectacle part way along a section of cave passage called Crusty Duvets. The jagged and uneven floor surrounding the three isolated formations is as delicate and untouched as the stalagmites themselves. Having had the opportunity to explore and photograph these caves has been such a wonderful experience and a real privilege. Thank-you to all the people who helped along the way, especially American explorer and speleologist Erin Lynch and the Karst Institute in China. #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #China #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

I was once told that there is still a staggering 95% of the world's oceans that remain unexplored. That's a huge volume of ocean left to examine and where to make new discoveries. Underground however, nobody knows what percentage of caverns remain unexplored, as we cannot see them from the surface. Pictured above, deep underground in China’s Wulong County, a cave explorer swims into the unknown in a cave called Quankou Dong. #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #China #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

China boasts some of the worlds most spectacular underground landscapes. Several of the largest cave chambers ever discovered are located in China and probably many more are there, lying in total darkness just waiting to be found. This photograph of the entrance passage of Quankou Dong near the town of Tongzi leads through to one of those mighty chambers; Cloud Ladder Hall. This photograph shows the view back towards the towering entrance and the main river passage, where we see thick beds of limestone that are visible high in the roof of the cave. #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #China #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

Battling to stay afloat, American speleologist Erin Lynch struggles to pull her way across a raging torrent of white water that relentlessly bombards her. She holds on and crosses the main river in Quankou Dong cave in China and explores the cave beyond. Following very heavy rains these caves in Wulong County are impassable. #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #China #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

An American cave explorer ascends the final section of rope, approximately 300m (1000ft ) high above the floor of a giant underground void full of fog. Discovered only a decade ago, we return to Cloud Ladder Hall in China, which ranks as one of the world’s largest cave chambers. How many more of these gigantic rooms exist out there, living in total darkness, just waiting to be found? #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #China #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

I often get asked; what is it like camping in a cave? Most of my experiences of sleeping underground have been in caves in the Tropics and generally hot, humid and heavily vegetated environments. It is for this reason why I would much rather sleep underground, The temperature is cooler than out in the jungle. There are fewer creatures trying to eat you! Plus, camping in a cave saves time traversing back to the entrance at the end of every day, only to have to retrace your steps the following morning to get to your lead to begin the exploration and the mapping. Camping inside a cave is cool! Our camp in San Wang Dong in China was really cosy. I think I enjoyed one of my best nights sleep ever at this camp pictured. #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #China #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

After the water levels recede and the sediment on the floor begins to dry out, cracks appear. They form unusual and fascinating shapes, just like a flagged patio of crazy paving. Here an American cave explorer admires an amazing cracked mud formation on the floor of a passage in the lower section of Gai Dong (cave ) in China. #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #China #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

What is exploration? For me, it’s discovering an uncharted world that was previously unknown to us all. Finding Xiao Dong, and being in the first group of people to explore it was truly an honour and a privilege. There are very few places left on our planet where you can be the first to set foot. As cave explorers, we often say that more people have been to the Moon than inside some of the caves we explore. Here, an American speleologist climbs high on a boulder to get a good view of the passage in Xiao Dong, China. #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #China #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

North of the Wujiang River in Wulong county, China, the mountains that surround the small town of Tongzi are riddled with immense cathedral-like caverns and deep vertical pits that seem to go on down forever. This vast area of limestone awaits any intrepid explorer. Light shines all around an American explorer (pictured ) as he climbs the rope he installed in the centre of this epic cave shaft known as Xinu Attic. Over the next week, I will upload a photo a day from China’s hidden underworld. Stay tuned for more. #China #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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May 2019

This photograph shows the nature of the cave immediately beyond the skylight in the photograph I uploaded yesterday. In this picture, one of our team looks up through the mist and fog back to the skylight. We continued our exploration and scrambled down the giant slope of rocks and boulders. We spent the whole day underground and discovered 3km (1.8 miles ) of previously unexplored cave passages. Over the next week, I will upload a photo a day from China’s hidden underworld. Stay tuned for more. #China #cave #explorer #speleo #speleology #landscape #expedition #explore #exploration #caving #caver #letsexplore

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