Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/26/2013 -- The Son Doong Cave is the biggest cave in the world. It is situated in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in the Bo Trach District of Quang Binh Province. This is on the Vietnamese side of the border with Laos. The name translates as the Mountain River Cave and not without good reason, there is a large fast-flowing river running through it. It was first discovered by a local man called Ho-Kanh as early as 1991. He and the local people were terrified by the cave as the river makes a whistling sound as it rushes through the channels deep underground. It therefore remain a secret until in 2009, a group of British scientists made the amazing discovery for themselves.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is yet another of Vietnam’s ever increasing number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is one of the largest limestone regions in the world and is a place of outstanding natural beauty. It is over 400 million years old, making it the oldest karst area in Asia.
The scientists were working for the British Cave Research Association, led by Howard and Deb Limbert. However even then there were difficulties as a large calcite wall barred their progression into the cave. Previous the biggest cave in Vietnam was the giant Phong Nha Cave, This is an incredible 5 times bigger. One single chamber alone is more than 5 kilometres long, stands at 200 metres high and is 150 meters wide. A forty story building could stand inside it.
Cave Pearls are a curious spherical formation caused when calcium secretes over a central nucleus forming concentric layers. As water rushes over the object it polishes the surface. Most cave pearls are less than 1 cm in diameter. In the Son Doong Cave they have found many the size of baseballs. Three kilometres inside the cave the roof has collapsed and a complete rain forest system has invaded. It is a remarkable place, that has remained undiscovered for so long. There are an unbelievable 150 more caves in this area which still have yet to be surveyed.
The cave is about to display its secrets to the world for the first time as organized tours are now being booked. No doubt as interest increases so will accessibility and the cave is destined to become a major draw for exploration seekers all over the world. It is simply another in the long list of fascinating attractions that Vietnam holds with its borders.
This area has so many other superb things to see. It is home to some of the most superbly diverse flora and fauna in the whole region. That it has managed to remain untouched for so long is a minor miracle. Scientists will no doubt be hoping that the miracle continues for as long as possible.
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