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Surprise lurking in world’s biggest cave

Just when you thought there was nothing left to discover, the world’s biggest cave goes and uncovers this.


Image Oxalis


Last month a trio of British divers (who came to the aid of the soccer team trapped in a Thailand cave) were invited to explore the waterways of Son Doong, the world’s biggest cave in Vietnam.


During the dive they discovered an underwater tunnel that connects Son Doong to Hang Thung. 


Son Doong currently measures 38.5 million cubic metres and when it’s officially connected to Hang Thung it will get an added 1.6 million cubic metres in volume, CNN reported.


"It would be like someone found a lump on top of Mount Everest, making it another 1,000 meters higher," Howard Limbert, technical advisor of the Quang Binh-based Oxalis adventure tour company said. 


And to give you an idea of just how big over 40 million cubic metres is, Limber told CNN that "any cave in the world will be able to fit comfortably inside Song Dong when it's connected -- it's just outrageous in size."


Image Carsten Peter/National Geographic Stock


Oxalis is the only company licenced to bring travellers into Son Doong Cave and invited the British divers as thanks for their efforts in rescuing the Thai soccer team.


Limbert said that, thanks to dye testing, the Oxalis team already knew that the water from Son Doong joined Thung Cave, but no human had ever gone into the subterranean rivers. 


According to Limbert no one had set foot in Son Doong until 2009 and he marvelled at the latest discovery, saying that it “shows there are still an awful lot of things to uncover on this planet.”


A Vietnam resident, Ho Khanh, first happened upon the opening of Son Doong in 1990, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he was able to find it again.


Son Doong was soon proclaimed the largest cave in the world in 2010, apparently so big that a New York City block with 40-story skyscrapers could fit inside it, according to Oxalis's estimations.


To explore the cave, travellers must book a guided excursion through Oxalis.


Published: 20 May 2019

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