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|Greenery: The entrance leading to Hòa Hương Cave. - Photo courtesy of British Cave Research Association’s explorers|
The British Cave Research Association’s exploration team, led by Howard Limbert, announced the findings in the province yesterday morning, following investigations conducted over more than a month.
According to Limbert, most of the caves are located in the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park at 14 locations featuring very hilly topography, hidden inside local primary forest.
Hoà Hương, named after a husband and wife who discovered the cave’s entrance, is the most prominent newfound cave. It is said to be 5 million years old and 2,876m long. Several Vietnamese accompanied the team, including a local pilot and experts from the national park and Hà Nội National University.
Limbert said the cave was formed underneath a big lake which has now dried up. He also said the cave might experience inflow of water during flood season. Inside the cave, explorers found a new species of scorpion with a ‘transparent’ body.
Hòa Hương Cave appears to be the oldest one and is thought to be the most valuable find among the 57 newfound caves.
Of the 57 caves, the ‘new’ 2,519m long Hang Tiên - which shares its name with a cave already exploited for sustainable tourism in the province - has the most potential for tourism and will be exploited in the near future.
Other caves discovered include 1,500m long Hang Bom, 1,430m long Hang Dinh, and 1,360 long Rục Ma Rinh.
The team pledged more exploration trips in 2017.
Experts from the British Cave Research Association have conducted 17 trips in the province, discovering and exploring 311 caves, including the world’s longest watery cave, Hang Ri, and the world’s biggest cave, Sơn Đoòng.
In the announcement ceremony yesterday, the People’s Committee chairman of the province, Nguyễn Hữu Hoài, applauded the efforts of British cavemen and Howard Limbert himself for outstanding contributions to cave exploration in the province.
During this year’s explorations, explorers took an 8-day trip inside the cave and they had to cut trees to harvest water for survival.