Researching in darkness

Scientists do science in all corners of the planet: jungles, deserts, polar caps, ocean floors and… also underground. Indeed, caves are a difficult, complex, and risky area of research, but very satisfactory. There are numerous existing lines of research and, sometimes, extraordinary results are obtained.
Cueva de las Estegamitas is one of those places in the underground world where it is really worth investigating.
Although the team of scientists from the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME-CSIC) and the University of Malaga, formed to study the cave shortly after its discovery, had only three months during 2022 to carry out their studies, the first results already showed their enormous importance.
The first big scientific news was the discovery of the largest set of stegamites contained in a cave, including specimens in all phases of their formation and active, currently growing. This finding has been published in National Geographic magazine, as well as in the proceedings of several national and international conferences and in digital science journals, such as The Conversation, or technical journals such as Péndulo, reaching hundreds of thousands of readers in the academic sphere and of society as a whole.
There are many lines of research that have been worked on in the short 90 days available: endokarst geomorphology, structural analysis, hydrochemistry, study of the atmosphere of the cave, its genesis, geochronological and paleoenvironmental study of sediments and speleothems, among other.
Currently, the team continue working, with the help of numerous colleagues from other institutions, on the data obtained, with the results of some of the first analysis carried out or carefully planning the sending of new samples to some of the most prestigious scientific laboratories both national and international, whom we publicly thank from here for their selfless collaboration.

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