12 January 2007: Award from UNESCO as a relevant
book for the International Polar Year 2007-2009!
"With this marvellously illustrated
work, the La Venta exploration team is not only sharing with us the precious
memory of more than 20 years of impassioned exploration of caves
of sky all around the world, but also reminding us all about the
fundamental role ice caps and glaciers are playing in the hydrological
cycle, while the international community is preparing itself to celebrate
2007-2009 as the International Polar Year. Polar regions and glaciers
encapsulate about seventy percent of the freshwater resources of the world,
and represent also the most sensitive systems to climate change; it is
a matter of fact that there could not be any serious scientific investigation
of such phenomenon without an acute observation of changes affecting glacial
The polar history is made of spectacular and well popularized expeditions
which started during the second half of the nineteenth Century; glaciology
grew up constantly during the same period, while glacial speleology (or
glaciospeleology), considered for too long no more than an extreme sport
practice, was recognized as a scientific discipline only during the last
decades of the twentieth century. Its development during the last 25 years
was considerable, in Europe and Iceland first, then in the rest of the
Using the extraordinary evocative strength of black and white illustrations,
the book Caves of Sky is also a testimony of the part the
La Venta team took in such a development.
By sharing this book with them, it is our firm intention to encourage
all UNESCO partners to give new impetus to monitoring, research and dissemination
efforts in the field of glacial hydrology and the assessment of climate
change effects on the hydrological cycle, and more generally in the search
for sustainability, hoping that they could be contaminated
by such a mix of spirit of adventure, passion, openness to discovery,
innovation and scientific rigorousness."
UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe
Glaciers are the most ephemeral part of the
landscape, the only bit of geology capable of displaying visible variations
during the short time span of one's life.
On the other hand, they are formed by the accumulation of ancient snowfalls
and therefore they are the most conspicuous and durable witness of climatic
A piece of sky plowing the mountains.
It has been known for a long time now that the rivers that flow on them
are engulfed by blue chasms and are lost in the depths of the glacier.
Yet, it is only recently that glacial-speleologists learnt to follow their
paths, slowly deciphering the complex internal structure of glaciers.
These caves, ever-changing like clouds but at the same time as stable
as the whirlpools of river, are extraordinarily beautiful, like abysses
carved into a shred of sky.
This book tells about them.
La Venta Geographical Association is an Italian team that also includes
explorers from Argentina, Mexico and United States.