In 1991, Vietnamese man Ho Khanh was wandering the wilderness of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park:
He didn’t want to investigate, though, because there was quite a drop-off to get down there. So he let it be.
Between then and 2009 word got out, and in that year a team of British cavers came to explore. Equipped to repel, they made the descent:
and inside found a stunning array of features:
According to website sondoongcave.org, from which I found these pictures, “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, twice as large as Deer Cave in Malaysia (currently considered the world’s largest with 90 meters wide, 100 meters high and 2 kilometers long).”
Today, the cave is getting ready to open for the public. And recently, more photos of the cave were released accompanied by a special on National Geographic television. Because more than just its size, are the features which make this cave system so extraordinary.
There’s a river:
Light shines in where a chunk of the ceiling broke, allowing a forest to grow. See it here on video:
Check out these cave pearls, a rare find caused by water drying up and leaving behind calcite crystals which adhere into these little spheres of sand:
Finally, just to add to the vastness of this region (indeed, to our planet) the website states that “the cave is part of a network of 150 or so caves, many still not surveyed, in the Annamite Mountains.”
While people are exploring and hoping to even travel to Mars, it’s fun to see that there’s so much yet to be discovered right here on Earth:
To see more about Son Doong Cave including more videos, pictures, and tourism info, go to http://www.sondoongcave.org