Sunday, June 17, 2012

Biggest Cave Has A Jungle And Waterfalls Inside

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Son Doong is the name of the world's largest cave in the world. It is not only huge, but also a very beautiful place filled with wonders.

It is almost like an alien world on Earth. What is truly fascinating is the jungle inside the cave.

As you can see on these breathtaking images this is without doubt one of the most remarkable places on our planet.

Son Doong cave is more than 200 meters wide, 150 meters high, and approx 9 kilometers long, with caverns big enough to fit an entire city street inside them.

It located in Son Trach, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh province, Vietnam. The cave was found by a local man named Ho Khanh in 1991 and was recently discovered in 2009 by British cavers, led by Howard Limbert.

It was created 2-5 million years ago by river water eroding away the limestone underneath the mountain Where the limestone was weak, the ceiling collapsed creating huge skylights.

Image credit: Peter Carsten

And as shown in these amazing images taken by photographer Carsten Peter, there is even a jungle concealed deep inside the cave.

Because of a collapsed portion of the cave roof, vegetation began to grow and form what would be the largest cave jungle.

The jungle is fairly small, but considering its location also fairly incredible. It also has the nickname "Garden of Eden."



A jungle inside a cave? A roof collapse long ago in Hang Son Doong let in light; plants thickly followed. As "Sweeny" Sewell climbs to the surface, hikers struggle through the wryly named Garden of Edam. Image credit: Peter Carsten

Carsten from Munich, Germany, took the images in 2010 when he joined British and German cavers during further expeditions of the site.

The purpose of the expedition was to make a complete exploration of Hang Son Doong and create a photographic record of the cave.

Cartsen, 52 said he spent up to two weeks at a time deep inside the caves, where he slept with just a sleeping bag and spent his time exploring and photographing the secret underground world.

"We discovered new parts of the cave, it's a huge area so to find them and access them is very difficult.

Wonderful waterfalls: A waterfall explodes into Hang Son Doong in the hidden depths of the Vietnamese jungle, which is part of a network of over 150 caves. Image credit: Peter Carsten

Photographing caves of this size is a challenge, it needs a lot of preparation.

But it's a great feeling to photograph a newly discovered cave, for me I see the cave for the first time when I see the photographs.

A big opening gate of cave - Going underground, expedition members enter Hang En, a cave tunneled out by the Rao Thuong River. Dwindling to a series of ponds during the dry months, the river can rise almost 300 feet during the flood season, covering the rocks where cavers stand. Image credit: Peter Carsten

I love to explore, I have been in some great caves in my lifetime and this is one of the most magnificent.



In this video, photographer Carsten Peter takes us along with him on a journey into Son Doong, the world's largest cave located in Vietnam. The biggest chamber in the cave is over 3 miles long and more than four times taller than the Statue of Liberty.

I've been a photographer and explorer for the last 35 years and I've visited so many caves, I've lost count. But this is by far one of the most unique and unusual caves I have ever seen.Swimming deep into Hang Ken cavers found a giant cave column. This is one of 20 new caves found in Vietnam in 2009.
"Ken" cave, it look like 2 occult eyes - A giant cave column swagged in flowstone towers over explorers swimming through the depths of Hang Ken, one of 20 new caves discovered last year in Vietnam. Image credit: Peter Carsten
To see a cave so large it has a forest inside is superb - it was overwhelming," Peter Carsten said.

If you want to see more Carsten's amazing photos, make sure to visit the National geographic gallery.

The underground caverns are not easy to access. Son Doong is situated below another cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang, though its entry passage is very difficult to traverse. It takes explorers 6 hours of walking through a 10 kilometer long forest path from Truong Son Highway to reach the mouth of Son Dong cave.

The Son Doong cave is so large that explorers are still searching for its end!

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