The underland keeps its secrets well. Only in the last twenty years have ecologists succeeded in tracing the fungal networks that lace woodland soil, joining individual trees into intercommunicating forests – as fungi have been doing for hundreds of millions of years. In China’s Chongqing province, a cave network explored in 2013 was found to possess its own weather system: ladders of stacked mist that build in a huge central hall, cold fog that drifts in giant cloud chambers far from the reach of the sun. A thousand feet underground in northern Italy, I abseiled into an immense rotunda of stone, cut by a buried river and filled with dunes of black sand. Traversing those dunes on foot was like trudging through a windless desert on a lightless planet.

from Robert Macfarlane Underland: A Deep Time Journey

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