Some people opt to explore abandoned mines as their hobby or interest. This interest is sometimes categorized or is affiliated to industrial archeology. As for the nature of this hobby, it is a close relative to caving since it utilizes almost exactly the same principles, equipments, and techniques.
There are a number of reasons and speculations as to how this particular interest to explore abandoned mines came into being. As a close relative of caving, it can be assumed that like caving, mine exploration has also its roots in mountaineering. This hobby is not explicitly visible in nature but just like any other fad or sports, it appeals to certain groups of people.
The techniques utilized to explore abandoned mines are generally the same with that of caving and mountaineering. However, mine exploration may have more of walking than crawling since mines were intentionally built for easy access. Although mines generally have sufficient walkways, there are also mines that call for the use of Single Rope Technique (SRT) especially if the entrance is a shaft. Single Rope Technique is also very useful in traversing slopes if the situation calls for it.
One of the major obstacles in mine exploration is access. There are a number of reasons as to why a group of mine explorers might be apprehended to explore abandoned mines. Despite the overwhelming number of mines (there are over half a million mines in the United States alone) present there are some limitations in accessing such. Since access to these mines is oftentimes regulated by law. Some of the reasons for inaccessibility include restricted access, collapse, reuse, flooding and technical limitations.
This activity also poses several hazards to the participants. Most of the time, non-issuance of permit to explore abandoned mines is brought about by safety concerns. There are different types of mines and for each type; there lies a corresponding source of risks that might jeopardize the explorers in the process. In this regard, most countries have established legal protocols and aggressive campaigns to limit the likelihood of mine explorations.
The danger that mine exploration poses is relatively higher compared to simple mountaineering. Mines are artificial in nature. It is therefore imperative that the vicinity has undergone and had been subjected to processes that might have an effect in the overall stability of the structure. Before any group decides to explore abandoned mines, it is a must to know the history of the mine itself. Some of the risks associated with mine exploration are explosion, collapse, bad air, hazardous chemicals, and others.
Despite these dangers and potential hazards that an individual is risking, there are still those who proceed to explore abandoned mines. The personal satisfaction that one derives from this activity could be the primary reason why this hobby still exists today.