Predicting the future by analysing the past
Chapter 1: Introduction
Author: Katherine Lehmuller, December 2016
Ancient and mysterious.
Each one of the Dolomite Mountains tells a story of the past. And what stories they can tell. Such as the exploration into one of Italy’s deepest caves, the Abyss of Cenote, located 3000 metres above sea level in the Fanes-Senes-Braies national park.
The Italian geographical exploration association, La Venta, leads a major project known as “Inside the Glaciers” (ITG). This project studies glaciers and ice caves to look for answers to better understand the impact of global warming on the Dolomites.
In 2015, a Leica HDS 7000 scanner helped researchers generate a 3D scan of the innermost chamber of the 285 m deep ice cave, documenting the volume of the rock-walled depression (more than 400,000 cubic metres).
In 2016, a second expedition of the same cave was completed. This time, researchers documented the evolution of the ice’s behaviour inside the cave in order to understand and compare climate changes occurring in the Dolomites today. The Leica ScanStation P40 laser scanner was acquired for this excursion due to its:
- Extreme durability
- Long range scanning distances of up to 270 metres
- Durability up to temperatures of -20° Celsius.
Weather at 3,000 metres above sea level is very unpredictable and severe. The ITG team had extremely short windows of time to collect their data. Therefore, during workable periods, equipment had to work – regardless of freezing temperatures or conditions in the cave.