speleo I started to explore caves when I was 14, and I have not finished yet. Many years ago I attended the 8th caving course of the Unione Speleologica Veronese (USV), a local caving society, and then I soon joined both the USV and the Società Speleologica Italiana (SSI).

Caving is not a mere sport. Caves are hidden, marvelous, unique worlds, and when they explore, cavers have the opportunity to collect important information and improve knowledge on the dark and obscure side of the mountains.

Thus, psychophysical and technical training must proceed in parallel with study and research.

Recently, I started to collaborate with geologists. We are attempting to understand the formation of very ancient caves (e.g. ~40 millions years ago) that open quite close to the town where we live and work. Once again a multi-disciplinary approach to grasp the meaning of natural phenomena around us.

Books

  1. R. Chignola. La vetta e il fondo. Societa' Speleologica Italiana, Erga ed., Genova 1996, pp.87
    Five tales about mountains, caves, cavers and climbers
  2. R.Chignola. L’ultima esplorazione Ed. Libro/Mania, 2014, eBook, 3.0 Mb, link
    A novel about...

Papers

  1. R. Chignola. Analisi degli incidenti speleolgici in Italia dal 1980 al 1988. Speleologia Veronese (1991) 15: 31-36.
    A statistical analysis of caving accidents occurred in Italy in the period 1980-1988
  2. R. Chignola. Il secondo incontro di Speleologia. Speleologia Veronese (1992) 16: 27-29.
    A commentary on the second local meeting of speleology
  3. R. Chignola, F. Trotti, M. Lanciai, N. Giarola. Misurazione della radioattivita' naturale in alcune grotte del Veneto. Speleologia Veneta (1994) 2: 60-67.
    A quantitative study on the natural radioactivity in caves
  4. R. Chignola. Venti corsi di speleologia dell'USV: qualche numero. Speleologia Veronese (1994) 18: 32-36.
    A statistical analysis of the data collected by our group concerning the first 20 basic-level courses of speleology
  5. R. Chignola. Variazioni della temperatura nell'atmosfera della grotta turistica di monte Capriolo. Speleologia Veneta (1995) 3: 66-69.
    A 1-year study on the variations of the atmospheric temperature in a touristic cave aimed at evaluating the impact of tourism on the cave
  6. R. Chignola. La senescenza speleologica. Speleologia Veronese (1995) 19: 7-8.
    A commentary on cavers and on modern speleology
  7. R. Chignola. Grotta???? Speleologia Veneta (2002) 10: 98-102.
    A new cave is described in this paper. The cave will be named "Covolo" later on
  8. S. Meggiorini, R. Chignola, G. Annichini. Covolo e Morava buche promesse. Studi esplorazioni e speranze attorno alla Spluga della Preta. Speleologia (2003) 49: 26-32.
    We describe the explorations of two caves that open close to the famous deep cave Spluga della Preta. The maps show possible connections between the caves
  9. R. Chignola, P. Biasi. Eutrofizzazione delle acque sotterranee della Spurga delle cadene: un possibile sistema biologico e biochimico di autodepurazione. Speleologia Veneta (2006) 14: 67-77.
    We describe a 5-year study on the highly polluted waters flowing through the cave Spurga delle Cadene. We report data showing a possible new biological self-depuration mechanism of underground waters
  10. R. Chignola. Un modello fenomenologico per l'analisi dell'impatto turistico nella grotta di Monte Capriolo. Speleologia Veneta (2007) All. scientifico 5: 73-85.
    I present a phenomenological model that fits temperature data collected for a full year at the touristic cave Monte Capriolo. The internal temperature varies as a function of three main factors: external temperature (smooth yearly variations), number of visitors and number of lighted electric lamps (abrupt daily changes). The model may be used to limit the impact of tourism in the cave on a quantitative basis
  11. R. Chignola and G. Badino. The Sounds of caves. Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Speleology, Kerrville, Texas USA (2009).
    We analyze underground winds measured by sonic anemometry using techniques from signal processing theory. The results show that caves are the biggest natural instruments on Earth that can play music
  12. R. Chignola. Previsione quantitativa dell’impatto turistico nella grotta di Monte Capriolo. Speleologia Veneta (2010) 7: 25-27 (allegato scientifico, atti dell’incontro nazionale di speleologia, Ramaloch 2007, Recoaro Terme, Vicenza, 18/25 Marzo 2007).
    This work has been published on the proceedings of the national meeting of speleology Ramaloch 2007 (Recoaro Terme, Vicenza). I presented the mathematical model that I developed to forecast the impact of tourism on the caves’ atmosphere
  13. G. Gonzato, A. Castellarin, R. Chignola, F. Gamberini, P. Lazzeri, Unione Speleologica Veronese. New dating of paleokarst features at Torricelle hills (Verona, Italy). Ital. J. Geosci. (2014) 133: 427-438
    Abstract: At the southern edge of the Lessini Mountains (Venetian Prealps, Italy), a well-developed palaeokarst network is found in the hills surrounding Verona, called Torricelle. Palaeokarst cavities are fossilized by palaeosols of mostly limonitic composition (“yellow ochres”), which were mined for centuries for pigments. In the current interpretation, the age of the palaeokarst features is set between the Oligocene and the early Miocene, when a regression took place in the central Lessini Mountains which partially emerged. In the Torricelle area, ochres are believed to be the insoluble residuals of subaerial weathering of upper-Priabonian marly limestones. The exploration of paleokarst cavities and of the surrounding area has led to the discovery of terrigenous-calcarenitic layers embedded in the palaeosol fillings, containing foraminifera assemblages whose age ranges from the upper Eocene to the upper Oligocene-lower Miocene. In particular, one of the caves is developed in the Marne di Priabona Formation (lower Priabonian), and its ochre filling contains fossiliferous layers with Priabonian Foraminifera assemblages. The presence of fossils whose age is comparable to that of the host rock is a testimony of upper-Eocene eogenetic karst. Furthermore, the presence of ochre fragments embedded in nearby Ypresian and Bartonian limestones provides evidence of emerged land and pedogenesis in early and middle Eocene, partly disproving the current interpretation of ochres’ formation. These findings provide evidence that ochre formation, karst development and its fossilisation started earlier than Miocene, as previously thought. Phenomena began in early Eocene and ended in Miocene, over a time span of at least 30 million years.
  14. G. Badino, R. Chignola, L. Palazzolo Il fiato di Eolo: misure della circolazione del'aria nel Monte Corchia. Atti del XXII Congresso Nazionale di Speleologia ed Euro Speleo Forum 2015, Pertosa-Auletta (SA), 2015.
    This work has been presented at the XXII National Congress of Speleology and Euro Speleo Forum 2015. We use signal processing techniques to analyze data collected by digital sonic anemometry at two entrances of the huge underground complex Antro del Corchia, Apuane Alps, Italy
  15. G. Gonzato, A. Castellarin, R. Chignola, F. Gamberini, P. Lazzeri, U.S.V. Nuovi dati sui fenomeni paleocarsici nelle colline Torricelle (Verona). Atti del XXII Congresso Nazionale di Speleologia ed Euro Speleo Forum 2015, Pertosa-Auletta (SA), 2015.
    This work has been presented at the XXII National Congress of Speleology and Euro Speleo Forum 2015. We report our studies on the paleokarst underground network that develops in the hills surrounding Verona
  16. R. Zorzin, G. Annichini, R. Chignola, L. Latella, Commissione Speleologica Veronese. Buso del Valon: indagini paleoambientali e faunistiche. La Lessinia ieri oggi domani (2015) 38: 50-56
    Preliminary paleoclimate and faunistic studies carried out in the cave Buso del Valon are described in this paper. The research project involves the local Speleological Commission and thus almost all cavers from the city of Verona
  17. R. Chignola, A. Castellarin, F. Gamberini, G. Gonzato, P. Lazzeri e Unione Speleologica Veronese. Trentacinque milioni di anni fa nelle colline veronesi. Speleologia (2015) 73: 49-53
    This paper describes studies on the paleokarst underground network that develops in the hills surrounding Verona
  18. G. Gonzato, G. Rossi, R. Chignola. Basalt intrusions in paleokarst caves in the Central Lessini Mountains (Venetian prealps, Italy). Acta Carsologica (2017) 46: 33-45
    The Lessini Mountains carbonate plateau (Venetian Prealps, Italy) is one of the most important karst areas in Italy. Along with alpine-type caves and well-developed karst landscapes, palaeokarst features are also common. In most cases, palaeokarst is represented by caves and fissures filled by limonitic-hematitic palaeosols (ochres) in which fossiliferous arenite layers are sometimes embedded. These features developed and fossilised during a late Eocene-middle Miocene regression. Between the Palaeocene and the Oligocene, over a time span partially overlapping the development of palaeokarst, basaltic volcanism took place in the Lessini Mountains. Along with ochre fills, cave passages that were intruded by basalt provide further evidence that a well developed karst network existed in the Lessini Mountains area in the middle-late Palaeogene. Moreover, basalt intrusions provide the only available data for the dating of palaeokarst in the central Lessini Mountains, where fossiliferous layers in ochre beds have not been found. We have started a new survey on palaeokarst in the Lessini plateau, with the aim of identifying ancient features on the basis of unusual fills (namely, ochre and basalt) and morphologies. New instances of basalt intrusions in three caves, Spigola di Canova, Covoli di Velo, and Covolo della Croce, have been recognised; evidence of pre-existing karst features filled by basalt in a previously studied cave (Grotta A Veja) has been identified, and an unusual basalt outcrop that might relate to palaeokarst has also been observed. This paper aims to document the new findings and to discuss previous ones. At the same time, we would like to point out some cautionary observations to prevent a “basalt = palaeokarst” misunderstanding.
  19. G. Gonzato, G. Rossi, R. Chignola. Intrusioni basaltiche in grotte paleocrsiche nei Lessini centrali. La Lessinia ieri oggi domani (2018) 41: 55-64
    This work describes our studies on basalt intrusions in paleokarstic caves that open in the Central Lessini Mountains.
  20. G. Gonzato, G. Rossi, R. Chignola, P. Biasi. Le miniere di ferro-manganese di Siresol (Montecchio). La Lessinia ieri oggi domani (2019) 42: 81-90
    We have surveyed local, abandoned and well-neglected iron/manganese mines. Our mountains are mainly composed of limestone and are rich in fossils. Minerals are quite rare, and thus the mines that we describe in this work have some geological interest
  21. G. Badino, R. Chignola. Fluctuations of atmospheric pressure and the sound of underground karst systems: the Antro del Corchia case (Apuane Alps, Italy). Frontiers in Earth Science (2019) 7: 147
    Mountains that contain subterranean voids can inhale fresh and clean air, and their breath is a fascinating natural phenomenon that speleologists know very well. Air flow through the entrances of underground systems is also an interesting geophysical problem. Basically, it is caused by temperature and pressure gradients between the internal and external atmospheres, but the dynamic interplay between these two driving forces is still not well understood. Our contribution dissects the physics of underground winds. Wind velocity, internal and external temperature and pressure have been measured synchronously at two entrances of a vast (∼64 km) underground system beneath the Mount Corchia, Apuane Alps, Italy. The data shows that, within time scales of minutes to days, pressure fluctuations of the external atmosphere primarily force air to flow underground, whereas temperature gradients play only a minor role. We modeled the cave as a system that takes the external atmospheric pressure as the input signal and outputs wind from its entrances. This wind, in turn, contains information about the system’s response, and hence on the structure of the subterranean voids. This information can be extracted using standard signal processing techniques and by using deconvolution methods we identify the same infrasound resonances in signals sampled at both entrances. These are the characteristic frequencies of the cave, and by using the Helmholtz resonance formalism it can be estimated that the explored volume of this important underground system is less than half of its probable real extension.