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16 April, 2012

5 Record Holding Caves of the World

In the early days, primitive people used caves as place of dwellings; they used them for various other purposes like burial or sites for religious practices. These caves are formed due to various geological processes like water erosion, pressure, atmospheric influences, digging, etc. Here is a list of six of the record holding caves of the world; this includes greatest total length, deepest, largest passage and much more…

1.      Greatest Total Length Cave - Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, USA

Mammoth Cave, the greatest total length cave in the world

Image courtesy: Wikipedia
The total length of Mammoth Cave is 628 kilometers and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. Mammoth Cave is inside the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, USA; the total area of the park is 52,830 acres. This cave system is very stable as they are made of limestone strata that are capped by sandstone. The national park was established mainly to preserve this cave system, Mammoth Cave. One can witness the endangered Kentucky cave shrimp, an eyeless shrimp at Mammoth Cave.

2.      Longest Surveyed Underwater Cave – Sistema Ox Bel Ha, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Sistema Ox Bel Ha cave, longest surveyed underwater cave
Ox Bel Ha means “Three Paths of Water” in the Mayan language. In the last week of March 2011, Sistema Naranjal was connected to Sistema Ox Bel Ha to make it the longest surveyed underwater cave; before this connection, it was Sistema Sac Actun that was the longest surveyed underwater cave system. The total length of Ox Bel Ha is 233.43 km.

3.      Deepest Known Cave - Krubera Cave, Abkhazia, Georgia

Krubera Cave or Voronya Cave, meaning "Crows' Cave"

Image source: nationalgeographic
Krubera Cave, also known as Voronya Cave or Voronja Cave is believed to be the deepest known cave; it was measured from the highest entrance to the lowest point of the cave. This cave is close to 2,000 meters deep. In Russian, Voronya Cave means Crows’ Cave; it was called so as one can see a large number of crows nesting at the entrance pit.

4.      Deepest Vertical Shaft or Vertical Drop Cave – Vrtoglavica Cave, Slovenia, Italy

Vrtoglavica Cave, the deepest vertical shaft cave.

Image source
Vrtoglavica Cave is located inside a mountain called Kanin Mountain; this mountain lies in the Slovenian part of the Julian Alps. What is a vertical shaft? A vertical shaft is a place in the cave where the caver has to abseil, meaning, he/she has to descend using controls like a rope. The total depth of the cave is 603 m. Vrtoglavica means vertigo; there are no documented proofs to know why the cave was called the Vrtoglavica cave.

5.      Largest Passage – Son Doong Cave, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam

Hang Son Doong Cave, the largest passage cave famous for fast-flowing underground river

Image source
In Vietnamese language, Hang Son Doong mean “Mountain River Cave”; this is a cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in the Quang Binh Province of Vietnam. This cave is famous for its largest fast-flowing underground river. It was in the year 1991 this cave was found by a local man named Ho-Khanh; earlier to its discovery, people were afraid to cross the cave due to the whistling sound or noise made by the underground river.


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