Sơn Đoòng Cave

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Sơn Đoòng Cave
Hang Sơn Đoòng (Mountain River Cave)
Son Doong Cave Doline with Scale.jpg
Son Doong Cave Doline
Map showing the location of Sơn Đoòng Cave
Map showing the location of Sơn Đoòng Cave
Location Quảng Bình Province, Vietnam
Coordinates 17°27′25″N 106°17′15″E / 17.45694°N 106.28750°E / 17.45694; 106.28750Coordinates: 17°27′25″N 106°17′15″E / 17.45694°N 106.28750°E / 17.45694; 106.28750
Depth Max 150m / 490ft
Length Approx 9,000m / 30,000ft
Discovery 1991 [AD] by Hồ-Khanh
Geology Limestone
Entrances Approx 2
Hazards Underground river
Cave survey 2009 British/Vietnamese

Sơn Đoòng Cave (hang Sơn Đoòng, "Mountain River cave" in Vietnamese)[1] is a solutional cave in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Bố Trạch District, Quảng Bình Province, Vietnam. As of 2009 it has the largest known cave passage cross-section in the world,[2][3] and is located near the LaosVietnam border. Inside is a large, fast-flowing subterranean river. It was formed in Carboniferous/Permian limestone.[4]

Discovery[edit]

Sơn Đoòng Cave was found by a local man named Hồ-Khanh in 1991. The whistling sound of wind and roar of a rushing stream in the cave heard through the entrance as well as the steep descent prevented the local people from entering the cave. Only in 2009 did the cave become internationally known after a group of scientists from the British Cave Research Association, led by Howard and Deb Limbert, conducted a survey in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng from 10 to 14 April 2009.[1] Their progress was stopped by a large, 60-metre (200 ft) high calcite wall,[1] which was named The Great Wall of Vietnam. It was traversed in 2010 when the group reached the end of the cave passage.

Description[edit]

According to the Limberts, the cave is five times larger than nearby caves like Phong Nha Cave and Hang En, the third largest cave in the world previously considered the biggest cave in Vietnam. The biggest chamber of Sơn Đoòng is more than 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) long, 200 metres (660 ft) high and 150 metres (490 ft) wide. With these dimensions, Sơn Đoòng overtook Deer Cave in Malaysia in 2009 to take the title of the world's largest cave.[5][6] The cave runs for approximately 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) and is punctuated by 2 large dolines, which are areas where the ceiling of the cave have collapsed. The dolines allow sunlight to enter sections of the cave and has resulted in the growth of trees as well as other vegetation.[7]

The cave contains some of the tallest known stalagmites in the world, which are up to 70 m tall.[8] Behind the Great Wall of Vietnam were found cave pearls the size of baseballs, an abnormally large size.[9]

Tourist activities[edit]

In early August 2013, the first tourist group explored the cave on a guided tour at a cost of US$3,000 each.[10][11] Permits are required to access the cave and are made available on a limited basis. Only 500 permits were issued for the 2015 season, which runs from February to August.[12] After August, heavy rains cause river levels to rise and make the cave largely inaccessible.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]