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  #1  
Old 08-12-2011, 02:01 PM
Ronald C. Semone Ronald C. Semone is offline
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Any unexplored areas left on earth?

Occasionally I read about a tribe being discovered in the Amazon, in New Guinea, or in Borneo that had had no previous contact with the outside world. Apart from these three regions, the Antarctic, and under the oceans, are there any areas on earth that are still unexplored? What about northern Siberia? Or northern Canada? The Australian outback?
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2011, 02:13 PM
jk1245 jk1245 is offline
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If you believe Wikipedia, the Brazilian state of Amapá has unexplored forest as 70% of its total area. I would bet there are lots of similar areas in neighboring Suriname and French Guyana.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:13 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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There are depending on how you define it. Some haven't been explored for a really long time even though they may once have been known by people. Others may be known to native groups but unknown to modern science. There are other places like caves in accessible areas that are rarely if ever visited by people.

There are a couple of references to places like this in the following Cracked.com article (an unknown rainforest and a crater in the middle of the Sahara are known now but they weren't until a few years ago). Others like them are probably still out there. There is a section of jungle in Africa that is so thick that people can't explore much of it (the one with supposed dinosaurs in it).

http://www.cracked.com/article_19299...-earth_p2.html

Last edited by Shagnasty; 08-12-2011 at 02:15 PM..
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:15 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
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There many thousands of miles of unexplored caverns, for what it's worth.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:16 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Marianas Trench. Rarely visited nowadays.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2011, 02:23 PM
Gray Ghost Gray Ghost is offline
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Everything below, say, 60,000 feet beneath the surface of the earth.

For things on the surface, I would say much of the ocean floor remains unexplored, if not unmapped, particularly in places like the Southern Ocean. Maybe some of the more exotic cave habitats in high-limestone areas? Especially if those caves are submerged.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:14 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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There are certain types of terrain that are extremely difficult to navigate. Examples are badlands (highly eroded terrain with almost no level ground) and mangrove swamps. Also, in some rainforests, the forest floor is essentially one big mass of large rotting tree trunks. Anyplace where such terrain extends over a very large area, there may well be sizable tracts that are, for all intents and purposes, unexplored. A fair amount of Papua New Guinea is considered unexplored because it's all steep jagged mountains. In the Bahamas, Andros Island is considered largely unexplored because it's almost all mangrove swamp.

Last edited by cjepson; 08-12-2011 at 03:15 PM..
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:24 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Is it BS that a large potion (I've heard it called TX-sized) of inland Australia hasn't been explored?
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2011, 06:24 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Originally Posted by cjepson View Post
n the Bahamas, Andros Island is considered largely unexplored because it's almost all mangrove swamp.
Even its website remains inaccessible. At least, this is what I see at your link:
Quote:
Error Code (403 Restricted To View)
No Can Do!

Either you are not authorized to enter, or you are attempting to access our site from an IP range that has been temporarily banned due to excessive use, hacking or spam activity.
That's a new one on me.

In somewhat similar vein, how about Inaccessible Island? Most of its few visitors, including an expedition sponsored by the Royal Society, have been unable to scale the sheer cliffs that ring the island's interior. However, the interior has been explored once, by a group of English schoolkids!

Last edited by njtt; 08-12-2011 at 06:26 PM..
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  #10  
Old 08-12-2011, 07:00 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Back in the late 1990s I led an expedition into the highlands of eastern Panama, to the Serrania de Jungurundo, a place that had never been surveyed by biologists before. We had seven party members (me, my two assistants, a herpetologist, a journalist, and a photographer and his assistant), and 24 Embera Indian guides, boatmen, and porters, most of them from the last village on the river, Boca de Pavarando.

It took us 4 days to get up to the ridge. I wanted to get as high up as possible. The guide wanted to go one way, while I figured the highest point was in another direction based on my map. After a brief mutiny I managed to get them to go my way.

When we got to our final camp, the Indians said even they had never been there before. (They don't go into the cloud forest much, because it's hard to walk, there's little game, and running water is hard to find.) They spent some time conferring to decide what to call the place.

I wouldn't say no one had ever been there before, but the place was unvisited by the Indians in the last village on the river. I figure that's pretty close to being unknown. And I think there were probably a lot of places in the range like that.

Last edited by Colibri; 08-12-2011 at 07:01 PM..
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  #11  
Old 08-12-2011, 07:10 PM
Fiendish Astronaut Fiendish Astronaut is offline
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Lake Vostock
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  #12  
Old 08-12-2011, 07:47 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Originally Posted by Fiendish Astronaut View Post
Interesting. And a little search yields this update.
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Posted 02.09.2011 ... Winter has stymied a Russian-led effort to drill into an Antarctic lake that has been buried for 14 million years, scientists said this week. Just 96 feet short of their goal, scientists had to put their tools away and wait out the rapidly approaching Antarctic winter. But they don’t want to lose the progress they’ve made so far, so they’re pouring kerosene down the borehole to keep it from freezing. ... Russian scientists drilled into it before but had to stop several times to satisfy international bodies tasked with protecting the lake. But the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, set up to protect the continent, approved the team’s drilling methods last month, giving them the green light to keep drilling. If all goes according to plan, once the drill breaches the ice boundary, the lake’s water pressure will push the drilling fluid up into the borehole, where it will freeze. Another year after that, researchers will return to extract that ancient water and analyze its contents. ... Now everyone will have to wait until at least next December, when the Antarctic summer allows scientists to return and switch on the drills once again.
So for a bit longer anyway.
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  #13  
Old 08-13-2011, 06:46 AM
Shakester Shakester is online now
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
Is it BS that a large potion (I've heard it called TX-sized) of inland Australia hasn't been explored?
Complete bullshit, yes. Some Americans seem to have this fixed idea that Australia is a few cities on the coasts and a vast trackless waste inland. That's very far from the truth. Outback Australia is about as "unexplored" as the deserts of Nevada or New Mexico.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:43 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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I saw a programme on the telly the other night which claimed that many of the Tepuis have not been explored by modern man, if at all.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:58 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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I would imagine that the interiors of some of the Canadian or Siberian Arctic islands are unexplored-no reason to go there...
I don't think anybody goes into the interior of Devon Island, or Ellesmere Island-it's just rock and ice.
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2011, 01:35 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is online now
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Define "unexplored". With Google Earth, I am able to explore 100% of the Earth's surface from my living room.
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:41 PM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is offline
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Define "unexplored". With Google Earth, I am able to explore 100% of the Earth's surface from my living room.
Yeah, I dunno why people want to go to Mars, I've already explored it. Hell, I've explored places that have been exploded for billions of years!
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Old 08-13-2011, 03:06 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Originally Posted by Rigamarole View Post
Define "unexplored". With Google Earth, I am able to explore 100% of the Earth's surface from my living room.
Not in any degree of detail. A lot of Google Earth coverage is fairly low resolution, and of course you can't really see the terrain in any forested area. I would define "explored" as that someone has been there physically, or at least within close sight range (within a few hundred yards). One might extend this to robotic cameras on a submersible. But overflights and satellite views don't give an adequate picture of "ground truth."
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Old 08-13-2011, 03:20 PM
AtomicDog AtomicDog is offline
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Yeah, I dunno why people want to go to Mars, I've already explored it. Hell, I've explored places that have been exploded for billions of years!
Oh? You have Google Krypton, too?
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Old 08-13-2011, 04:38 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is online now
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Not in any degree of detail. A lot of Google Earth coverage is fairly low resolution, and of course you can't really see the terrain in any forested area. I would define "explored" as that someone has been there physically, or at least within close sight range (within a few hundred yards). One might extend this to robotic cameras on a submersible. But overflights and satellite views don't give an adequate picture of "ground truth."
In all seriousness, I once read an article about a few places that were discovered for the first time ever by researchers looking on Google Earth (of course, they later sent real expeditions to these places).

Actually, here's a link about one such place in the mountains of northern Mozambique. They found some previously undiscovered plant and animal species when they went there, too.

Last edited by Rigamarole; 08-13-2011 at 04:39 PM..
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Old 08-13-2011, 04:50 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Oh? You have Google Krypton, too?
Well, astronomers exploring galaxies far away, with Hubble or by way of the Planck Observatory are exploring exactly that, and before. Not "exploring" by Colibri's definition, and perhaps not the op's, but by some people's definitions it counts.
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  #22  
Old 08-15-2011, 09:57 AM
control-z control-z is offline
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I think "explored" means boots on the ground.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:35 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I would imagine that the interiors of some of the Canadian or Siberian Arctic islands are unexplored-no reason to go there...
I don't think anybody goes into the interior of Devon Island, or Ellesmere Island-it's just rock and ice.
Actually, much of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago is north of the Canadian Shield, and was tropical when the islands were originally formed in the Paleozoic -- there have been discoveries of oil, and IIRC coal and ores, in the area. (Though your basic point that the interior of some islands may be 'unexplored' by Colibri's definition is no doubt true.)
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:00 AM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Originally Posted by Rigamarole View Post
Define "unexplored". With Google Earth, I am able to explore 100% of the Earth's surface from my living room.
No you can't. There are hundreds of places that are blurred, blacked out, or have false image overlays. There are also areas difficult to penetrate by satellite imagery, due to cloud cover, dense forestation, or topography. And if you believe Wikipedia, there are places that simply haven't been photographed.

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Some parts of the world have still not been photographed. Very low resolution photos or false color photos indicate that the area has not been photographed. On Google Earth 6.0 it is easy to see areas that are not photographed by simply clicking the Historical imagery option on.
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:57 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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Even its website remains inaccessible.
That is weird. You can get there but not by following a link, apparently. Google "Bahamas B2B Andros" and it should be the first hit.

Last edited by cjepson; 08-15-2011 at 01:01 PM..
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  #26  
Old 08-17-2011, 10:37 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Back in the late 1990s I led an expedition into the highlands of eastern Panama, to the Serrania de Jungurundo, a place that had never been surveyed by biologists before. We had seven party members (me, my two assistants, a herpetologist, a journalist, and a photographer and his assistant), and 24 Embera Indian guides, boatmen, and porters, most of them from the last village on the river, Boca de Pavarando.

It took us 4 days to get up to the ridge. I wanted to get as high up as possible. The guide wanted to go one way, while I figured the highest point was in another direction based on my map. After a brief mutiny I managed to get them to go my way.

When we got to our final camp, the Indians said even they had never been there before. (They don't go into the cloud forest much, because it's hard to walk, there's little game, and running water is hard to find.) They spent some time conferring to decide what to call the place.

I wouldn't say no one had ever been there before, but the place was unvisited by the Indians in the last village on the river. I figure that's pretty close to being unknown. And I think there were probably a lot of places in the range like that.
That is a very cool little story, well told. I once had to do some research on indigenous use of/claims to cloud forest patches (Chinantec in Mexico, Ixil in Guatemala, Tol (a.k.a. Jicaque) in Honduras, Bribri in Costa Rica, and Ngoe-Bugle in Panama); and I found, just as you did, that they generally didn't go there much.

(You may have bumped into my doctoral advisor, who help do some terrific mapping work with the Emebera-Wounaan around when you did this expedition...but enough IRL chitchat...back to your regular scheduled Dope thread!).

Last edited by JKellyMap; 08-17-2011 at 10:38 PM..
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  #27  
Old 08-18-2011, 03:05 AM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Back in the late 1990s I led an expedition into the highlands of eastern Panama, to the Serrania de Jungurundo, a place that had never been surveyed by biologists before.
I opened this threat to say that, IIRC, there are parts of the Darien Gap that haven't been explored by non-natives. Would this be an accurate assessment?
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:14 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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No one has mentioned the Empty Quarter yet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rub'_al_Khali

There is areas of the empty quarter that have never been explored just because it's so vast and there's no reason to go there. Theres been a few expeditions but a lot remains unseen.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:42 AM
mac_bolan00 mac_bolan00 is offline
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paris catacombs. at least 4 known levels but largely unmapped. most known entrances are sealed by the french government for public safety.
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:09 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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Complete bullshit, yes. Some Americans seem to have this fixed idea that Australia is a few cities on the coasts and a vast trackless waste inland. That's very far from the truth. Outback Australia is about as "unexplored" as the deserts of Nevada or New Mexico.
That's simply not true.

There are large areas of Australia that remain unexplored, and it's not just the outback. To put this into perspective, the valley that contained the Wollemi Pine is 50 kilometres form Sydney, and was only explored 15 years ago. Once you get into genuine remote areas, there are huge areas that have never been explored.

15 of years ago I was lucky enough to be selected as part of an survey team for the Desert Uplands in central Queensland. This area might just qualify as "outback", though it's only 50 km inland. We were dropped in by helicopter and walked out. Took us 9 days, we covered about 60 kilometres, all unexplored.

I also put in a survey site on a station on the Cape, not 15 km from the house. After we finished I told the owner we had placed it in the tea tree swamp at the outflow from the ranges. He thought I was mad or stupid and swore that he had no such swamps on his property. We got into a minor argument and I had to take him back and show him where it was. He was astounded that he has 100 acres of such land on his property and had no idea it was there, He had lived there for over 50 years and had no idea. Once again, the land was almost valueless and access was difficult there was simply no reason for anyone t every go there

This is country that is notionally part of existing cattle stations, but it had never been explored. Because it is ridgy and lacks permanent water it grows little grass, so no roads, no fences and no maps. It's doubtful if Aborigines ever been went into the country. There's just nothing there but ridges and gorges separated by scrub.

As I said, this is within a few hundred kilometres of the coast. The further you go inland, the more such country exists. Because it is notionally private land, it doesn't get random bushwalkers and campers, and because it is so damn rough the owners never get into it. In that part of the world many of the stations don't even have back fences, there is no need. All watering points are artificial, so cattle can't cross the boundaries because there is no water. There are swathes of land 50-100 kilometres across throughout the inland that has probably never seen human footprints. While not the size of Texas, thy are a good sized chunk of country.

In more coastal regions there are also plenty of unexplored country, though of smaller size. As already noted, large numbers of valleys in the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney have never been explored. Tracts of Tasmanian forests in the hill country away from the rivers and roads are the same. The further west you go on the mainland, the more and bigger the unexplored regions become. There is just so much of it, so few people and absolutely no reason at all for anybody to go there. When you are talking about places where it takes at least 3 days to walk in and there is no surface water ever, why would anybody ever have explored it?

I imagine that there are such areas in many less densely populated parts of the world. At some point it becomes so difficult to get on and out that the there is simply no point in going in there.
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:57 AM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
paris catacombs. at least 4 known levels but largely unmapped. most known entrances are sealed by the french government for public safety.
The catacombs are all manmade, are they not? I don't think that quite fits the spirit of the thread.
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:08 AM
mac_bolan00 mac_bolan00 is offline
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yeah, well i thought we ought to include "lost" areas as well. but i agree the OP was clear in his query.
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  #33  
Old 08-18-2011, 05:56 AM
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One of the jobs of my mountain-climber cousin was as part of an expedition which headed into a river canyon and traversed it all the way to where it came back out into inhabited land. There was a network of canyons in the area, and it still hadn't been determined what happened to the river entering the canyon: did it at some point subsume, was it one of the rivers coming out of that mountain range, if so which one?

I haven't been able to find information on that job (although I remember seeing the documentary, so I imagine it must have been with the people from TVE Program "Al filo de lo imposible"; and no, I can't ask my cousin, he's dead, and I'm not planning on asking his brothers because I know what that leads to), but searching for it delivered the blog of an expedition to explore Himalayan river canyons currently being prepared by the Spanish Speleology Federation. Web in Spanish. They don't say to what extent is the area mapped, part of the idea is to see whether it can be developed for sports tourism.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:38 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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That is weird. You can get there but not by following a link, apparently. Google "Bahamas B2B Andros" and it should be the first hit.
Yes, it is the first hit, but it still gets me to the "Restricted To View" page.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:56 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
I opened this threat to say that, IIRC, there are parts of the Darien Gap that haven't been explored by non-natives. Would this be an accurate assessment?
The Jungurudo is in the Darien Gap, so yes. The unexplored parts are mostly going to be in the upper parts of the mountain ranges.

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Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
(You may have bumped into my doctoral advisor, who help do some terrific mapping work with the Emebera-Wounaan around when you did this expedition...but enough IRL chitchat...back to your regular scheduled Dope thread!).
My first guess is Julie V.-R., who I've known for almost 20 years. I just saw her last week when she was here in Panama.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:01 AM
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I heard there's a few valleys in New Zealand's Fiordland which had not yet been explored on foot, as the valley sides are so difficult to climb, and the floor's so densely forested. Might be out of date on that.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:39 AM
Shakester Shakester is online now
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I imagine that there are such areas in many less densely populated parts of the world. At some point it becomes so difficult to get on and out that the there is simply no point in going in there.
So, in fact, what I said is correct. Outback Australia is about as unexplored as the more remote parts of Nevada or New Mexico. Do you think there are no places in the USA that are just as "unexplored" as parts of Australia?

Yes, there are parts of Australia that are rarely if ever visited, but it's all been mapped. There are areas that are not thoroughly mapped, but there is zero chance that anyone will discover a new river or mountain. Maybe a small valley or a creek, but nothing geographically noteworthy.

We know what's there, geographically. I'm sure there are still a few species unknown to science lurking about the place, but that hardly makes it "unexplored" in a the sense that the OP asks. There are no undiscovered tribes out there, no ruins of any lost civilisations, and no major geographical features that have never been seen by human eyes.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:24 AM
protoboard protoboard is offline
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Would you say there are parts of Canada and Australia that are basically unexplored by humans?
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:05 AM
AK84 AK84 is online now
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A lot of the Himalayas was not explored until the mid 1980's, when due to conflict, the Indian and Pakistan Armies began survey missions.

The Pakistan AF did surveys of the Himalayas in the 1960's and discovered new 20,000 plus high peaks.
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  #40  
Old 05-11-2014, 06:09 AM
pullin pullin is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
In somewhat similar vein, how about Inaccessible Island? Most of its few visitors, including an expedition sponsored by the Royal Society, have been unable to scale the sheer cliffs that ring the island's interior. However, the interior has been explored once, by a group of English schoolkids!
FWIW: I think this island might be the basis for the novel Fragment by Warren Fahy. I read it recently and thought it one of the best Sci-Fi reads I've encountered in a long time.

Last edited by pullin; 05-11-2014 at 06:09 AM..
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  #41  
Old 05-11-2014, 06:24 AM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
paris catacombs. at least 4 known levels but largely unmapped. most known entrances are sealed by the french government for public safety.
Something similar in Kansas City. Years ago they were doing some digging and opened up some old sewer tunnels, lined with brick, they didnt even knew existed.

It makes you wonder what old tunnels are hidden or if you dig into an old houses foundation might you uncover an old secret cellar or something.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:39 AM
Muffin Muffin is online now
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I would define "explored" as that someone has been there physically, or at least within close sight range (within a few hundred yards).
Then some of Canada's north is unexplored. Surveyed by air or sat, yes, but tromped about up close and personal, no.
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:08 AM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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Let's see:
  1. The Guiana Highlands in Venezuela and Northern Brazil - Most of this area is too rugged and too remote to explore.
  2. The Siberian Arctic - too remote and too inhospitable to explore.
  3. The Sahara Desert - In many places outside of the few oases and populated areas haven't been explored.
  4. The Andaman Islands - There are thousands of them,many of them are small and some like North Sentinel Island are inhabitated by fierce tribes who have killed outsiders who attempt to land on them.
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  #44  
Old 05-11-2014, 10:00 AM
bump bump is offline
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A lot of this comes down to what "explored/unexplored" mean.

For example, an island/valley/etc... may not have had people literally walk, drive or ride through them on the ground, but may have had multiple airplane, helicopter and satellite overflights, showing us the lay of the land well enough to map it and know that there isn't anything particularly remarkable there. Would you call it unexplored?

For example, the interior of Inaccessible Island is tough(impossible?) to get to via boat, but I imagine it's pretty trivial for a ship-based helicopter to overfly the place and show that there's not much up there of interest except to biologists. It would technically be unexplored, but the elevations, forests, etc... would be easily mapped out. Same thing in large desolate areas like the Sahara- aerial overflights show that there isn't squat but sand dunes and scrub. No real point in packing up a Land Rover and driving out there is there?

Last edited by bump; 05-11-2014 at 10:01 AM..
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  #45  
Old 05-11-2014, 10:02 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
The Andaman Islands - There are thousands of them,many of them are small and some like North Sentinel Island are inhabitated by fierce tribes who have killed outsiders who attempt to land on them.
Blatant hijack:

Reminds me of a fictional Leonard Wibberly story, Feast of Freedom, when the Vice-Prez of the US made a goodwill visit to some obscure South Pacific islands. The VP was so friendly that he affectionately patted the native Chief on the head, not a wise move.

They ate him. Hilarity ensued.
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  #46  
Old 05-11-2014, 10:30 AM
cmdrpiffle cmdrpiffle is offline
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Originally Posted by pullin View Post
FWIW: I think this island might be the basis for the novel Fragment by Warren Fahy. I read it recently and thought it one of the best Sci-Fi reads I've encountered in a long time.
and...I've just purchased it (Fragment) on my Kindle. Great suggestion, thank you!
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  #47  
Old 05-11-2014, 10:35 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Would you call it unexplored?
I would call it unexplored. As I said above, I would regard "explored" to mean visited on foot and visually surveyed. At close range, there are features that may not be apparent from the air or space, especially in forested terrain. More importantly, you would have little idea of the species of plants and animals present.
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  #48  
Old 05-11-2014, 10:58 AM
cmyk cmyk is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
Complete bullshit, yes. Some Americans seem to have this fixed idea that Australia is a few cities on the coasts and a vast trackless waste inland. That's very far from the truth. Outback Australia is about as "unexplored" as the deserts of Nevada or New Mexico.
Yes, only some Americans have this misconception.

Last edited by cmyk; 05-11-2014 at 10:58 AM..
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  #49  
Old 05-11-2014, 02:30 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is online now
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Just a note in case anyone missed it: The OP died two months after starting this thread.

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 05-11-2014 at 02:30 PM..
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  #50  
Old 05-11-2014, 10:57 PM
BMalion BMalion is offline
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Pellucidar?
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