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Caves were our first home in the road of human evolution. In prehistoric time cave helped cave man to develop a better social form than other primates. Caves have been discovered throughout history. They were used for shelter, burial, or as religious sites in prehistoric time. Recent studies on cave reveals details of past climatic conditions of earth. And also helps to find the missing link of evolution. Beside research, Cavers explore them for the enjoyment of the activity or for physical exercise. For the less adventurous, a tour guides involves showing caves where artificial lighting, floors, and other aids allow tourist to experience the famous underground caves with minimal inconvenience.
10 Famous Underground Caves:
10. Eisriesenwelt Cave
The Eisriesenwelt (“World of the Ice Giants”) is a limestone ice cave situated in Werfen, Austria. Extending more than 42km, the cave is inside the Hochkogel Mountain in the Tennengebirge section of the Alps. Eisriesenwelt was formed by the Salzach River, which eroded passageways into the mountain. Visited by about 200,000 tourists, it is the largest ice cave in the world. The ice was formed by thawing snow which drained into the cave and froze during winter. A cable car was built in 1955 that shorten the time of climbing.
9. Reed Flute Cave
Well known as “the Palace of Natural Arts” the Reed Flute Cave is located in the northwest of Guilin in southern China. It is the most interesting place in Guilin. The legend says, Reed Flute Cave got its name the reed by the cave’s mouth could be made into flutes. There are about 70 inscription written in ink dated back 792 AD. It was discovered by Japanese troop in 1940. The limestone cave creates a fantastic fairyland of stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, stone curtains, birds, plants and animals in wonderful colors and shapes.
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8. Cave of the Crystals
Home of the some largest natural crystal, The Cave of the Crystals was discovered in 2000 by miners excavating a new tunnel for the Naica Mine in northern Mexico. It was unexplored for a long time for its extremely hot environment. The temperature inside the cave is 58 degree Celsius. The cave’s largest crystal found to date is 11 meters (36 feet) in length, 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter and 55 tons in weight.
Mineralogical and crystallographic studies, biogeochemical and microbial characterization of the gypsum giant crystals were performed by scientific teams. The steamy extremely hot environment that allows microscopic crystals to form and grow. Uranium-thorium dating to determine the maximum age of the giant crystals, about 500,000 year.
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7. Puerto Princesa Underground River
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is situated in a jungle covered mountain range about 80 km of the city of Puerto Princesa in Philippines. The Puerto Princesa Underground River was the 2nd world’s longest underground river and is still the longest navigable underground river. It is almost impossible to explore the deeper areas of the underground river due to oxygen .The underground river is 8.2 kilometer (5 miles) long. It is selected the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
6. Waitomo Caves
One of the New Zealand’s top tourist attractions, The Waitomo Caves are situated just outside the main Waitomo Township. Very rare insect, Waitomo glowworms that radiate their luminescent light lives in this underground caves. These worms are only found exclusively in New Zealand. It was formed over 30 million years ago. The Caves have marvelous ornate decorations, deep limestone shaft known as the Tomo. And the magnificent Cathedral cavern known for its superb acoustics.
5. Majlis al Jinn Cave
Located in a remote area of the Selma Plateau in Oman, Majlis al Jinn is one of the largest underground caves in the world. This cave could give you eerie feelings because the name Majlis al Jinn means the meeting place of Jinn, a supernatural being in Arabic lore.
It is a single cave chamber measuring about 310 meters by 225 meters (1,017 by 738 feet), with a domed ceiling 120 meters high. The cave is 178 meters below the top. Climbing on this cave is only for experts because it’s too risky for the common tourists. Although some places are accessible for the common tourists. Oman’s Ministries of tourism are planning to make this place a popular tourist spots.
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4. Skocjan Caves
If you enjoy the epic movie “Lord of the Rings”, you would possibly eager to see The Skocjan cave. Because the cave system includes a massive underground gorge, waterfalls and a bridge over the gorge that looks like something out of The Lord of the Rings.
It is the highest cave hall in Europe, posing a beautiful stalactite and stalagmite structures. The Škocjan Cave was by the sinking Reka River. First part of the river remains on the surface but suddenly disappears to the underground, where it continues its way through the caves. The cave is enlisted in UNISCO World Heritage sites.in 1986.
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3. Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns is a United States National Park situated near Carlsbad, New Mexico. “The Show Cave” is the main attraction of this park. The cave is a natural limestone cave chamber which measures 1,219 by 190 meters (4,000 by 625 feet), and 107 meters (350 feet) high at the highest point. It is regarded as the seventh largest cave chamber in the world. A variety of formation and decoration with stalactites, stalagmites formations can be seen is this cave. It is a good place for hiking.
2. Jeita Grotto
The Jeita Grotto, a major tourist attraction of Lebanon, consists of two separate but interconnected karstic limestone caves: the upper grotto and the lower grotto. It is under a selection of new seven wonder of nature. The upper gallery is the house of the world’s largest stalactite – a mineral deposit that hangs from the ceiling of a limestone cave. Bellow the upper gallery, the lower gallery has an overall length of 6,200 meters (20,300 feet) is located 60 meters (200 feet. More than 280,000 tourists visit Jeita Grotto.
1. Mulu Caves
Located near Miri, Sarawak, The Gunug Mulu is a National Park in Borneo and is a major tourist site in Malaysia. It is enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage site and named after mountain Mulu. The park resides an incredible caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest environment.
It is the largest cave chamber in the world measuring 700 by 396 meters (2,300 feet by, 1,300 feet) and at least 70 meters (230 feet) high. The chamber is so big that it could accommodate about 40 Boeing 747s, without overlapping their wings. The national park is in a remote area. Between 17 and 40 million years ago, the Mulu limestone was formed.