Reliefs of caves

There are various types of relief models of locations underneath the earth or which are covered by earth. Cave reliefs and mining reliefs are two examples.

Model of a mine
Model of the Grassberg mine (Indonesia) 1:2,500, 120 x 120 cm,
Photo from Rauda Scale Models Inc.

The accurate representation of caves still remains a challenge. In contrast to the surface, they are really 3D objects and not 2.5D as the earth’s surface (beside the rare overhangs). Several layers of branches may cross each other. Real 3D representations are able to deal with these complexities.

There are nearly unlimited possibilities for using different materials and different techniques. Caves can be represented by some material, whereas the substratum around the cave remains air. This method turns the proportion of air and material around; the cave is depicted negatively. Another method uses glass to represent the substratum while real caves in the glass correspond to the caves. The third method can be used for large scale models: the walls of the cave are characterized by thin acrylic glass, so that it is possible to show the interior of the caves. This last method is specifically suitable for representation of mines with clear geometric forms. The earth’s surface can be depicted by means of a smooth wire netting for example.

Such models are suitable for visualising public mines or caves.