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Four explorers to the center of the Earth

“The truth is underground,” says Robert Macfarlane, a British poet and naturalist by telephone, who has explored the underground of the world to discover “that there we hide our most scandalous shame, but also our greatest treasures”.

“Underground is salvation from climate change,” says scientist David W. Wolfe from New York in an email. In the same city, the also university professor Will Hunt asserts that “the subsoil is our most mysterious landscape.” And, from the Basque Country, the journalist Ander Izaguirre believes that “sometimes, the darkness of the interior of the earth hides unsuspected violence”.

All four – an unusual coincidence – publish books about what is not above our heads but below our feet. Macfarlane is the author of ‘Bajotierra’ (Random House / Angle); Wolfe, from ‘El subsoil’ (Seix Barral); Hunt, from ‘Subterranean’ (Review); and Izagirre, from ‘Potosí’ and ‘The basements of the world’ (both in Libros del K.O.).

Macfarlane has traveled the world for its underground wonders – and calamities. His exploration is both physical and philosophical. “I use both my body and my mind,” he explains, “I examine places but also language, myths and metaphors of art.” In Yorkshire, he went down to an underground laboratory because “the paradox is that, to study the sky, you have to go underground. There, scientists, under very specific conditions, study the dark matter that formed at the birth of the universe. There are things that we can only see in the dark. “

Un glaciar al norte de Groenlandia, como los que atravesó Macfarlane para documentar su libro 'Bajotierra'
A glacier in northern Greenland, like the one Macfarlane went through to document his book ‘Lowland’ (E. Rignot)

It has also been in the frozen Olkiluoto, in Finland, in a nuclear waste warehouse, and in Greenland, noting the effects of climate change. “More things are emerging than ever,” he reveals, “for example, the melting of permafrost has brought up the body of a wolf cub preserved for 50,000 years in the Yukon, or the corpses of soldiers killed in conflicts of more than a century ago.”

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