The List of the 16 caves follow the article below
For your first caving trip you should be able to borrow a lamp and helmet until you decide whether you want to go caving again. You may be able to borrow some other specialist clothes, such as a waterproof oversuit, and other gear. However, don’t worry if you can’t, the following will be suitable for a first trip:
HELMET: With a Y chin-strap and lamp bracket.
LAMP: Any reliable lamp can be used providing it can be attached to your helmet to leave your hands free.
OLD WARM CLOTHES: Perhaps thermal underwear, pullover, thick socks and tracksuit trousers. (NOT jeans as they drag when they get wet.)
WATERPROOF JACKET & OVER TROUSERS: These can be covered with a boiler suit or ‘overall’ to protect them.
BOOTS: Well-fitting wellingtons with non-slip treads are best, otherwise boots without hooks for laces
Story credit: Try Caving http://www.trycaving.co.uk
1. Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave at San Ignacio, Belize
Entrance to the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
Photo credit: Mongabay.com travel.mongabay.com
The Crystal Maiden
The Crystal Maiden
Found inside Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
Photo credit: Travel Into World travelintospain.blogspot.com
Photo credit: The Circumference http://www.thecircumference.org
Accessible to the public only by licensed guides conducting day-trips to multi-day stays, Actun Tunichil Muknal is only one of three caves around the edge of a small valley. Actun Tunichil Muknal is on the northwest, Actun Uayazba Kab is high on the southwest, and the small Actun Nak Beh lies on the southeast edge. Within the valley itself Roaring Creek flows to the north past Cahal Uitz Na, a Maya centre reclaimed by the jungle. The map to the right, while not to scale is a fair representation of the area and shows the small tributary that exits from the east end of Actun Tunichil Muknal and empties into Roaring Creek. Not shown are a number of seasonal creeks or paths between sites. Access to the field camp known as the “Xibalba Hilton” and first stop for all visitors, is via a 3 kilometre hike that comes in from the northeast and hugs the banks & also crosses through Roaring Creek. There is no vehicular access to the sites.
Story credit: Maya Belize http://www.mayabelize.ca
2. Grotte d’Hercule (The Cave of Hercules) at Tangier, Morocco
Dangerous but fun activity
Photo credit: Grotte d’Hercule on Flickr http://www.flickr.com
Inside the cave of Hercules
Inside the cave of Hercules. It was said to be used as a brothel in the early 1900s
Photo credit: ZONGULDAK: Black Diamond of Blacksea http://www.skyscrapercity.com
Photo credit: Google Maps maps.google.com
Located 14 km west of Tangier in Cap Spartel, the north-western extremity of Africa’s Atlantic coast. Cap Spartel is heavily wooded, but below it the Robinson Plage stretches off to the south. The caves are located about 100 metres from the Robinson Plage Holiday Village and surrounded by some expensive cafes.
The caves has been used as a dwelling since Neolithic times. Archaeological excavations have produced human bones and flints. For a long time locals quarried stone here, then, in the first half of the 20th century they were used as brothels, until it was found that tourists were a more lucrative venture.
It is recommended that one visits the caves very early in the morning to avoid being hassled by the locals. The Caves of Hercules are Tangiers premier tourist attraction. Apart from their great beauty and archaeological interest, they are reputed to have been the dwelling place of Hercules who founded Tangier and made the Straits of Gibraltar, with one blow from his sword.
From the entrance kiosk, the guide leads the party along a concrete path, past the old quarry working to a second entrance overlooking the Atlantic ocean. This is called “The Map of Africa”, as the outline of the entrance is said to resemble this feature. This entrance is impassable at high tide.
Story credit: Show Caves of the World http://www.showcaves.com
3. Kungur Ice Cave in the Perm region, Russia
Ice formation inside Kungur Ice Cave
Photo credit: Environmental Protection Department of the Perm http://www.permecology.ru
Map and photo of Kungur Ice Cave
Surface karst features above Kungurskaya Cave, superimposed on the cave map (A) and the view of the Ice Mountain from the Sylva River (from the south). 1 = dry cave passages, 2 = cave lakes, 3 = contours by the breakdown material, 4 = suffosion dolines, 5 = karst collapse/subsidence dolines.
Photo credit: Speleogenesis Online Scientific Journal http://www.speleogenesis.info
Location of Kungur Ice Cave
Kungur Ice Cave is one of the biggest caves in the world and the only in Russia cave purposely equipped for excursions. This unique natural monument, surrounded with multiple legends, is located in the Urals, between Perm and Yekaterinburg. Scientists claim that the age of Kungur ice cave is nearly 10-12 thousand years. The extension of the cave’s passages is around 6000 metres, and the underground tourist route is 1.5 kilometres; the cave has 20 grottos and about 60 lakes.
High popularity of the cave can be explained with favourable and easy to reach location and mysterious charm of its remote alleyways. As soon as one gets into the Kungur cave they start feeling dizzy because of the excessive level of oxygen in the air. The thought about getting lost in the labyrinths can also frighten visitors. Many tourists who were left behind the excursion group had to wait for the next one in complete dark.
Excursions through Kungur cave have nothing in common with museum excursions. When leaving the cave people get a feeling of being born again or returning from a long trip; there is hardly a museum to cause the same effect. It is recommended to visit Kungur cave in late spring, when the ice stalactites reach their maximum size. Tourists are also advised to put on warm clothes and comfortable footwear during the trip.
Kungur ice cave can be referred to one-level labyrinth, and consists of several tens of grottos of various sizes linked by passages and tracks. Some grottos reach 50-100 metres in diameter and 20 metres height. The total extension of all explored passages of the cave is around 5.6 kilometres.
The cave has gained world popularity because of its impressive ice formations giving the grottos incredible and unique beauty which is also reflected in the grottos` names: Brilliant, Polar, Ruins of Pompeii, Meteor’s Grotto, Sea Bottom, Crypt and Cross Grottos, etc. The first grotto tourists usually visit is called Brilliant and is full of beautiful crystals lit with illumination and sparkling with different colours. Brilliant Grotto is linked with the second, Polar Grotto, but it is known that in the past, 100 years ago, the two grottos formed one.
The grotto called Titanic is one of the most interesting ones as it is famous for a big underground lake it has inside. Sometimes a boat appears on the big lake; however, it is not tourists to have a boat trip but scientists from the Academy of scientists, who live and work in a two-storey building located not far from the cave’s entrance.
The length of the longest grotto in Kungur ice cave is 200 metres – this is why the grotto is called Long. Here there are a number of small lakes and there is also the entrance to the reserved part of the cave, which remains untouched for future generations and scientific researches; entering the reserved territory is available only for speleologist groups. There is also a place of complete dark in the cave – Meteor Grotto. Excursion guides usually explain that even cats loose the ability to orientate in space after staying in this grotto for 5 minutes.
Story credit: Russia IC http://www.russia-ic.com
Literary Agents email addresses
If you’ve written a story or a novel, click Literary Agents email addresses to see a list of literary agents’ e-mail addresses
These are non-fee agents and if they have a website, you will see a link to the website listed next to the agent’s email address
4. Atta Cave – Dripstone Cave of Attendorn in Sauerland Germany
Atta Cave in Germany
Photo credit: Holidays in the Southern Sauerland http://www.sued-sauerland.eu
Attendorn cave in Germany
The Attahöhle is probably the most beautiful show cave of Germany, with numerous speleothems along the tour path. There are forests of stalactites, stalagmites, curtains and pillars. One of the chambers is called Kristallpalast (crystal palace) to honor this.
Beneath the normal flowstone, the cave contains huge areas with crusts of calcite crystals, sometimes big enough to be called dogtooth spar. They were formed in standing water, which contained a large amount of calcium carbonate in solution. They only grow inside the water, so the long term water level is the horizontal line where the calcite crystals end. Unfortunately only a small part of those crystals can be seen on the tour. The finest crusts are in the undeveloped parts of the cave and the specimen which are shown on the tour were placed there.
A really beautiful feature are the numerous curtains They are illuminated from behind and show the typical structure with stripes resembling bacon rinds. Those stripes were formed by changing water supply with changing amounts of iron oxide.
The cave was discovered after a blast during the quarry works of the Biggetaler Kalkwerke in 1907. The owner realized the touristsic potential and developed the cave immediately. It was opened the same year with more than 200m trails. The following year the length of trail was more than doubled and it became a round trip. But there was a problem with the original entrance which was located at the road to Finnentrop. With increasing traffic it became more and more dangerous, and so in 1925 a new entrance was built. A 60m long tunnel completed the access to the remaining parts of the cave and relocated the entrance to the Hotel Himmelreich. Unfortunaly the commercialization inhibited any research in the cave, and so it took 70 years until the cave was explored. In the early 1980s some local cavers were allowed to explore the cave, and the length of the cave increased from 850m to 6,670m in 1993.
Unfortunately a cave visit has various drawbacks, like the high entrance fee and the expensive parking. It is not allowed to take pictures in the cave which is explained with copyright reasons, which means they want a monopoly in selling pictures. Also they never corrected the false length that they give: the cave tour is not 1,800m long but only 560m.
Story credit: Show Caves of Germany http://www.showcaves.com
5. Ali Sadr Cave, Hamadan Iran
Ali Sadr Cave in Iran
Photo credit: TripAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com
Ali Sadr Cave Iran
One of the most beautiful and most unique natural phenomena in the world is the Ali-Sadr cave in the Hamadan province, Iran, views of which attract visitors’ interest and attention. This huge cave is located 75Km due northeast of city of Hamadan in the heart of mountains called Subashi in the Kaboudar-Ahang town.
After entering the cave we face a relatively vast area, about 270m2, in which we can rest a while and wait for our turn. Passing through a wide path, we arrive at a wharf. From there onward, we should use boats for our excursion.
Along the water canals, which are between 2 to 50 meters wide, we face a good number of labyrinthine halls. All the routes of this cave end in a vast central square called The Island. This square, which has an
Area of approximately 750 m2, is located at the distance of 350 meters from the wharf from which all the branches originate. One of these branches, through which the boats pass, has the length of 2.5Km. in this part the roof, which is 10 to 20 meters above the water level, is covered by calcium Carbonate sediments. Stalactites (icicle-shaped formations of lime hanging from the roof of a cave, formed by the steady dripping of water containing minerals) in different colors double the beauties of this unique cave. Besides, the most astonishing stalagmites (formations of lime extending upwards like a pillar from the floor of a cave as water from a stalactite drips into it) can also be found in this wonderful, marvelous cave. These are seen in the shape of cauliflowers, needles and umbrellas, in colors of red, purple, brown, green and blue. Ali-Sadr is the only yachting cave with waters so clear that we can see to a depth of 5 meters even in a dim light.
Beside the natural significance of this unique phenomenon, it should be pointed out that the discovery of historical tools and works of art aging thousands of years, including jugs and pitchers, indicates that humans lived in this place since 12000 years ago. Furthermore, the paintings of deer, gazelles and stags, the hunting scenes and the image of bow and arrow on the walls and passages of the exit section and prove the point that at the primitive historical ages and in the hunting era man was living in this cave.
The age of this cave is 70 million years and now more than 16Km of its water and land routs have been explored, yet not all the routs are known and the exploration is continuing. The efforts have been somehow successful and in some cases new passages and water routs with lengths of about 10 to 11 Km have been found, some of these canals have even led to dry land finally ending in a lake, after long distances.
Story credit: Iran Chamber Society http://www.iranchamber.com
6. Hasting Caves in Tasmania
Hastings Cave in Tasmania
Hastings Caves in Tasmania include Newdegate Cave, the largest tourism cave in Australia.
The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service conducts 45-minute tours through Newdegate’s large, highly decorated cavern. Formations in the cave are spectacular and include flowstone, stalactites, columns, shawls, straws, stalagmites and the unusual helictites – tendrils of calcite that grow in all directions in tiny filaments.
The caves of this region started to form approximately 40 million years ago and remained unseen until 1917, when timber workers discovered an entrance. They named their magnificent find after the governor of the time, Sir Francis Newdegate.
Newdegate Cave is spacious and well lit, with no narrow passages. There are around 240 stairs but these are traversed in small sections. It is one of the few caves in Australia to have formed in dolomite, which is harder and heavier than limestone. (Dolomite is characterised by pearly white and pinkish crystal, and should not be confused with that famous Tasmanian rock, dolerite, which weathers into tall grey flutes such as those you see on Mt Wellington and Cradle Mountain.) The underground temperate is naturally maintained at nine degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit) all year round.
You can buy your tickets for the cave tour, at the Hastings Cave Visitor Centre, which is about five kilometres (three miles) from the cave entrance. Here you’ll find modern, well equipped facilities including interpretation, souvenirs and a licensed cafe.
The thermal pool is surrounded by forest and ferns and has a large picnic area equipped with change rooms, showers and toilets, electric barbecues, shelters and forest walks. The pool is fed from a spring that supplies spring water at around 28 degrees Celsius (82.5 degrees Fahrenheit) all year round. It is hygienically controlled and has a paddling pool for children.
A walk along the Hot Springs Track will take you to the convergence of two streams. If you put your hand in the water here, you’ll be able to feel the warm current from one stream meeting the cold current from the other.
How to Get to Hastings Caves
Tasmania’s Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs are 90 minutes’ drive south of Hobart and just one hour from Huonville. Take the A6 all the way to the C635 turnoff just north of Southport and follow the signs.
Story credit: Discover Tasmania http://www.discovertasmania.com
7. Covaciella cave, Asturias, Spain
Covaciella cave, Asturias, Spain
Prehistoric art depicting bison in the Covaciella cave
Photo credit: Heart Views http://www.hmc.org.qa
Covaciella cave, Asturias, Spain
Stone Age drawing of a horse found inside Covaciella Cave
Nearly 200 rock art sites of Upper Paleolithic age are currently known on the Iberian Peninsula, in both caves and the open air. Over half are still concentrated in Cantabrian Spain and they span the period between c. 30–11 kya, but–tracking the course of human demography in this geographically circumscribed region–many of the images were probably painted or engraved during the Solutrean and, especially, Magdalenian. Dramatic discoveries and dating projects have significantly expanded the Iberian rock art record both geographically and temporally in recent years, in close coincidence with the growth of contemporaneous archeological evidence: cave art loci in Aragón and Levante attributable to the Solutrean and Magdalenian, many cave art sites and a few open-air ones in Andalucía and Extremadura that are mostly Solutrean (in line with evidence of a major Last Glacial Maximum human refugium in southern Spain), the spectacular Côa Valley open-air complex in northern Portugal (together with a growing number of other such loci and one cave) that was probably created during the Gravettian-Magdalenian periods, and a modest, but important increase in proven cave and open-air sites in the high, north-central interior of Spain that are probably Solutrean and/or Magdalenian.
Despite regional variations in decorated surfaces, themes, techniques and styles, there are broad (and sometimes very specific) pan-Iberian similarities (as well as ones with the Upper Paleolithic art of southern France) that are indicative of widespread human contacts and shared systems of symbols and beliefs during the late Last Glacial. As this Ice Age world and the forms of social relationships and ideologies that helped human groups survive in it came to an end, so too did the decoration of caves, rockshelters and outcrops, although in some regions other styles of rock art would return under very different conditions of human existence.
Story credit: Springer Link http://www.springerlink.com
8. Chauvet Cave, France
Chauvet Cave, France
Researchers believe that caves containing prehistoric paintings, such as those found in the Chauvet Cave in southern France, provide excellent natural analogues for the water flow at Yucca Mountain.
The 30,000-year-old paintings in these caves were made with oxides of iron and small amounts of manganese, as well as clay, charcoal, and silica. None of these materials would survive long in the presence of abundant water. Yet many cave paintings have survived in locations far more humid, and with more than three times the rainfall, than Yucca Mountain.
Those paintings survived because water tends to flow around caves and tunnels, not into them, in part because of the comparative size of the different openings. In unsaturated rock, what little water is available in the pores and fractures has a tendency to remain there rather than flow into larger openings, such as caves or tunnels. Based on these studies, we expect seepage into repository tunnels to be minimal.
Story credit: U. S. Department of Energy Studies Behind Yucca Mountain http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov
9. Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands) Río Pinturas, Argentina
Cave of the Hands Río Pinturas, Argentina
Argentine stamp depicting the Cave of the Hands
Photo credit: World Cultural Heritage as seen through postage stamps worldheritage.heindorffhus.dk
Cave of the hands Rio Pinturas, Argentina
10,000 year old rock art at Cave of the Hands
Photo credit: DownTheRoad.org The continuous bicycle touring story since 2002 downtheroad.org
Cueva de las Manos (Spanish for Cave of the Hands) is a cave located in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, 163 km (101 mi) south from the town of Perito Moreno, within the borders of the Francisco P. Moreno National Park, which includes many sites of archaeological and paleontogical importance.
The Cave lies in the valley of the Pinturas River, in an isolated spot in the Patagonian landscape, some 100 km (62 mi) from the main road, National Route 40. It is famous (and gets its name) for the paintings of hands, made by the indigenous inhabitants (possibly forefathers of the Tehuelches) some 9,000 years ago. The composition of the inks is mineral, so the age of the paintings was calculated from the remains of bone-made pipes used for spraying the paint on the wall blocked by the hand.
The main cave measures 24 m (79 ft) in depth, with an entrance 15 m (49 ft) wide, and it is initially 10 m (33 ft) high. The ground inside the cave has an upward slope; inside the cave the height is reduced to no more than 2 m (7 ft).
Scene of huntingThe images of hands are often negative (stencilled). Besides these there are also depictions of human beings, guanacos, rheas, felines and other animals, as well as geometric shapes, zigzag patterns, representations of the sun, and hunting scenes. Similar paintings, though in smaller numbers, can be found in nearby caves. There are also red dots on the ceilings, probably made by submerging their hunting boleadoras in ink, and then throwing them up. The colours of the paintings vary from red (made from hematite) to white, black or yellow. The negative hand impressions are calculated to be dated around 550 BC, the positive impressions from 180 BC, and the hunting drawings to be older than 10,000 years
Most of the hands are left hands, which suggests that painters held the spraying pipe with their dexterous hand. The size of the hands resembles that of a 13-year-old boy, but considering they were probably smaller in size, it is speculated that they could be a few years older, and marked their advancement into manhood by stamping their hands on the walls of this sacred cave.
Cueva de las Manos has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1999.
Story credit: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org
10. The Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan) near Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
The Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan)
Some shapes resemble us figures which made the local people give it names like Pines in the Snow, Mushroom Hill, Dragon Pagoda, Sky-Scraping Twin, Virgin Forests , Red Curtain, etc. For me it looks like a group of skeletons and skulls — Gustavo Morejon
Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan) is located in the northwestern section of the city. It is 240 m deep and is probably the largest and most magnificent cave in Guilin. Ludi Cao, reed grass, grows in front of the cave and can be used to make the most wonderful flutes. This was what gave the cave its name. It used to be a favorite place for the local people to hide themselves in times of war or trouble.
Photo credit: Google Maps maps.google.com
The Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan) is an amazing cavern located five kilometres Northwest of the downtown of Guilin, on the southern shoulder of the Guangming Hill (Bright Hill), in China. It is in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The cave got its name from the verdant reeds growing outside it, with which people make flutes and pipes; but according to a legend, The Reed Flute Cave got its name because people believed that the reed by the cave’s mouth could be made into flutes.
Once you get inside the cave, you are presented with an amazing display of colours and shapes that makes your imagination watch shapes such as Pines in the Snow, Mushroom Hills, A Dragon Pagoda, Sky-Scraping Twins, Virgin Forests , A Red Curtain, etc. The cave is about 240 meters long and it was formed 600,000 years ago by a cave river. The stalagmites in the cave are generally longer than the corresponding stalactites, and can reach more than 10 meters, which suggests quicker speed of dripping water.
According to the legend, the stone pillar in the grotto is the Dragon King’s magic needle, used as a weapon by the Monkey King in the popular Chinese fable and novel “Journey to the West.” People started visiting the caves in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the cave used to be a war refuge during World War II. The grass covered the entrance to the cave, so the people of the area used this cave for many centuries as a hideout.
During the Sino-Japanese War, Guilin became a refuge for thousands of nationalities and intellectuals, and the cave served as refuge for some of them. Printing plants, newspapers, hospitals, and even theatrical companies took refuge in the karst caves (the location of some of these caves was not rediscovered until the late 1950s). The cave was opened to the public in 1962 and it is so spectacular that it has been named “The Palace of Natural Arts”.
Story credit: Everywhere Travel is all around you http://www.everywheremag.com
11. Cave of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel
cave of the dead sea scrolls
Cave 4 at Qumran, on the shores of the Dead Sea. Numerous fragments of the first five books of the Old Testament (Torah) were found in this cave. Qumran was in Jordan at the time of the initial discovery of the scrolls. Some of the scrolls are now displayed at the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.
Photo credit: Ferrell’s Travel Blog ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com
fragment from the dead sea scrolls
“Aramaic Apocryphon of Daniel” one of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments in an exhibition at the Jewish Museum
Photo credit: The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com
The Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
In the spring of 1947 Bedouin goat-herds, searching the cliffs along the Dead Sea for a lost goat came upon a cave containing jars filled with manuscripts. That find caused a sensation when it was released to the world, and continues to fascinate the scholarly community and the public to this day.
The Dead Sea scrolls consist of roughly 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the Wadi Qumran near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include some of the only known surviving copies of Biblical documents made before 100 C.E., and preserve evidence of considerable diversity of belief and practice within late Second Temple Judaism. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus. These manuscripts generally date between 150 B.C.E. to 70 C.E.. The scrolls are most commonly identified with the ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes, but recent scholarship has challenged their association with the scrolls.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are traditionally divided into three groups: “Biblical” manuscripts (copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible), which comprise roughly 40% of the identified scrolls; “Apocryphal” or “Pseudepigraphical” manuscripts (known documents from the Second Temple Period like Enoch, Jubilees, Tobit, Sirach, non-canonical psalms, etc., that were not ultimately canonized in the Hebrew Bible), which comprise roughly 30% of the identified scrolls; and “Sectarian” manuscripts (previously unknown documents that speak to the rules and beliefs of a particular group or groups within greater Judaism) like the Community Rule, War Scroll, Pesher on Habakkuk, and the Rule of the Blessing, which comprise roughly 30% of the identified scrolls.
Publication of the scrolls has taken many decades, and the delay has been a source of academic controversy. As of 2007 two volumes remain to be completed, with the whole series, Discoveries in the Judean Desert, running to thirty-nine volumes in total. Many of the scrolls are now housed in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. According to The Oxford Companion to Archeology, “The biblical manuscripts from Qumran, which include at least fragments from every book of the Old Testament, except perhaps for the Book of Esther, provide a far older cross section of scriptural tradition than that available to scholars before. While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content. In their astonishing range of textual variants, the Qumran biblical discoveries have prompted scholars to reconsider the once-accepted theories of the development of the modern biblical text from only three manuscript families: of the Masoretic text, of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint, and of the Samaritan Pentateuch. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around 100 A.D.”
Story credit: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org
12. Pindaya Caves, Myanmar (Burma)
Pindaya Caves, Myanmar (Burma)
There are some 8000 Buddha images made from alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer and cement
Photo credit: Inle Lake View Resort and Spa http://www.inlelakeview.com
Inside the Pindaya cave in Myanmar
Inside the Pindaya cave
About 45 km from Kalaw is a small town Pindaya, well known for its extensive limestone caves. The caves are set deep in the hillsides and there stands at the entrance, a 15 meter high Shwe U Min Pagoda. There are some 8000 Buddha images made from alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer and cement. Among the more unusual features in the cave is a set of stalagmites that can be struck with large wooden mallets to produce gong tone.
The way to Pindaya is scenic since both side of the little tar road are fields of dry cultivated mountain rice, potato and passes through the Pa O, Taung Yo, Danu hill tribes villages. Entering the plateau of Pindaya, the great mountain range appeared to dwarf the city and lake down below. Aged banyan trees lined the beautiful Pindaya Lake, which is the only water source for bathing and cleaning.
Story credit: Inle Lake View Resort and Spa http://www.inlelakeview.com
13. Lechuguilla Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, USA
Lechugilla Cave New Mexico
Photo credit: U. S. National Parks Service http://www.nps.gov
Lechugilla Cave Map
Photo credit: U. S. National Parks Service http://www.nps.gov
Lechugilla Cave Location Map
Photo credit: Google Earth Hacks http://www.gearthhacks.com
Lechuguilla Cave is, as of August 2007, the fifth longest cave (122 miles (196 km)) known to exist in the world, and the deepest in the continental United States (1,604 feet (489 m)), but it is most famous for its unusual geology, rare formations, and pristine condition.
The cave is named for the Agave lechuguilla, a plant found near its entrance. It is located in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Access to the cave is limited to approved scientific researchers, survey and exploration teams, and National Park Service management-related trips.
Lechuguilla Cave was known until 1986 as a small, fairly insignificant historic site in the park’s backcountry. Small amounts of bat guano were mined from the entrance passages for a year under a mining claim filed in 1914. The historic cave contained a 90 feet (27 m) entrance pit known as Misery Hole, which led to 400 feet (122 m) of dry dead-end passages.
The cave was visited infrequently after mining activities ceased. However, in the 1950s cavers heard wind roaring up from the rubble-choked floor of the cave. Although there was no obvious route, different people concluded that cave passages lay below the rubble. A group of Colorado cavers gained permission from the National Park Service and began digging in 1984. The breakthrough, into large walking passages, occurred on May 26, 1986.
Since 1986, explorers have mapped 122 miles (196 km) of passages and have pushed the depth of the cave to 1,604 feet (489 m), ranking Lechuguilla as the 5th longest cave in the world (3rd longest in the United States) and the deepest limestone cave in the country. Cavers, drawn by the caves’ pristine condition and rare beauty, come from around the world to explore and map its passages and geology.
Stalagmites, stalactites, and draperies by a poolLechuguilla Cave offered even more than just its extreme size. Cavers were greeted by large amounts of gypsum and lemon-yellow sulfur deposits. A large variety of rare speleothems, some of which had never been seen anywhere in the world, included 20 feet (6.1 m) gypsum chandeliers, 20 feet (6.1 m) gypsum hairs and beards, 15 feet (4.6 m) soda straws, hydromagnesite balloons, cave pearls, subaqueous helictites, rusticles, U-loops and J-loops. Lechuguilla Cave surpassed its nearby sister, Carlsbad Caverns, in size, depth, and variety of speleothems, though no room has been discovered yet in Lechuguilla Cave which is larger than Carlsbad’s Big Room.
Scientific exploration has been conducted as well. For the first time a Guadalupe Mountains cave extends deep enough that scientists may study five separate geologic formations from the inside. The profusion of gypsum and sulfur lends support to speleogenesis by sulfuric acid dissolution. The sulfuric acid is believed to be derived from hydrogen sulfide which migrated from nearby oil deposits. Thus, this cavern (as well as Carlsbad Caverns) apparently formed from the bottom up, in contrast to the normal top-down carbonic acid dissolution mechanism of cave formation.
Rare, chemolithoautotrophic bacteria are believed to occur in the cave. These bacteria feed on the sulfur, iron, and manganese minerals and may assist in enlarging the cave and determining the shapes of some unusual speleothems. Other studies indicate that some microbes may have medicinal qualities that are beneficial to humans.
Lechuguilla Cave lies beneath a park wilderness area. However, it appears that the cave’s passages may extend out of the park into adjacent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. A major threat to the cave is proposed gas and oil drilling on BLM land. Any leakage of gas or fluids into the cave’s passages could kill cave life or cause explosions.
Story credit: Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org
14. Diros Cave at Areoppoli, Greece
Diros Cave in Greece
Photo credit: PBase.com http://www.pbase.com
Diros Cave diagram
Photo credit: Greek Landscapes http://www.greeklandscapes.com
Photo credit: Trav Buddy http://www.travbuddy.com
One factor that attracted men to settle in Diros cave was the presence of abundant drinking water in the lake inside it.
A band of Neolithic sailors cruising along the gulf of Diaries on their way to Mills to procure supplies of obsidian, the valuable hard volcanic rock used for making tools and weapons, apparently put in here found the water, and began to live In the cave and the surrounding area.
The occupations in which the Neolithic Community of Diaries engaged, their specialization in the sphere of production, their daily activities and living patterns their burial customs religious beliefs artistic sensitivity and intellectual concerns can all be traced n the finds brought to light by the archaeological excavations. Diros Neolithic Museum contains exclusively objects from a single geographical and cultural unit. The basic objectives of the exhibition are to facilitate communication between visitors and the exhibits, and an understanding of each object within the overall group so as to make it easy for visitors to form an idea of the life of the Neolithic community.
The cave served as a place of refuge a residence a workshop a huge storeroom for goods, and also as a cemetery and cult area.
The wealth and quality of the finds show that a populous dynamic Community evolved at Diros, which grew into an important center of farming and stock-breeding that also had a strong commercial and sea-faring character.
The excellently made tools of stone, bone and obsidian, the superb painted, plain and relief pottery the characteristic weaving accessories, needles and spindle- whorls, the delicate bone, stone and even silver jewelry the elegant terracotta and marble figurines and the abundance of excellently preserved bones from human and animal skeletons combine to make the Diros cave an Important archaeological site of unique scientific interest.
The Neolithic Community of Diros evolved during the Late and Final Neolithic Period (4800-3200 BC)
The life of the community was interrupted abruptly about 3200 BC by a severe earthquake as a result of which the mouth of the cave was blocked. Those trapped in the cave died of starvation, while those on the countryside abandoned the area because they had lost their supply of drinking water.
Story credit: Laconian Professionals http://www.laconia.org
15. Hang Sung Sot cave at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Hang Sung Sot Cave in Vietnam
Photo credit: My Several Worlds http://www.myseveralworlds.com
Ha Long Vietnam map
Photo credit: CC Travel http://www.halongbaytours.net
Located on the same island as the Virgin cave, Sung Sot cave is said to be the most beautiful – Sung Sot means astonishment or awe in Vietnamese. The path to Sung Sot is quite steep and flanked with trees. The cave is comprised of 2 chambers. The outer chamber, which is referred to as the waiting room, is square and approximately 30 metres high. The walls of the chamber are very smooth and generate a range of colors that blend with its surroundings.
The inner chamber is known as the serene castle. Inside the chamber are stalactites and stalagmites that come in a variety of forms from conversing sentries to animals in varying poses. It is up to your imagination. Many visitors are impressed by the reflection of the water that caused the formation of images inside the chamber.
Story credit: Circle of Asia http://www.circleofasia.com
16. Cheddar Cave, England
Inside the Cheddar Cave, England
Parts of the spectacular Cheddar Caves and Gorge complex have been attracting visitors for over 200 years. The largest and most famous cave is Gough’s Cave, so named because it was discovered by a Sea Captain named Richard Gough in 1890. It stretches 0.4km (0.25 miles) underground and is often referred to as a cathedral because of the vast caverns – such as the magnificent Diamond Chamber and Solomon’s Temple – that were carved out by Ice Age melt waters over a million years ago. When Gough’s Cave was blasted with dynamite to open it up for further exploration, archaeologists discovered what’s now known as Cheddar Man, the oldest complete skeleton found in Britain that’s thought to date back over 9,000 years. Other archaeological finds date human habitation in and around the site back over 40,000 years. The smaller Cox’s Cave was discovered by local mill owner George Cox in 1837 when one of his workers fell through a hole in the roof of the cave whilst collecting rocks for a new building. Above ground, a series of 274 steps known as Jacob’s Ladder take visitors from the foot of Britain’s biggest gorge to the very top where the Lookout Tower and the cliff top Gorge Walk are located. Caving, climbing and abseiling courses can also be arranged at the site.
Story credit: Iexplore http://www.iexplore.com