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Massive cave discovered in China has its own weather system

Monday, October 14, 2013 by: PF Louis
Tags: caves, weather system, speleology

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(NaturalNews) A group of 15 UK and American speleologists discovered a massive cave system in the Chongqing Province recently. It's so massive that it has clouds, fog, streams and lots of vegetation on parts of its floor.

Speleologists are cavers who do scientific studies of caves. Spelunkers are hobbyists who explore caves for fun and adventure without making scientific determinations. The team of 15 speleologists explored what's known as the Er Wang Dong cave system for a full month.

Parts near the surface of this system were once used by nitrate miners, but it had never been fully explored until now. The team of speleologists spent a month exploring the Er Wang Dong cave system and came back with several awesome photographs.

What's most impressive are the wide cavernous spaces that dwarf the speleologists and enable clouds and fog to form, encouraging thick vegetation to grow on some caves' floors.

At times, the vegetation is so dense below that it looks like the cavers are climbing steep cliff rocks among surface-level tropical canyons. Some awesome photos are displayed in the Daily Mail, source [1] below.

Background - literally

The speleologists didn't have to blaze any trails to get to the Er Wang Dong cave area. Chongqing is a central China province, 28 million population, with a very large capital, Chongqing City, home to over 6 million residents. It is one of the world's fastest growing cities with an international airport.

The city has a very impressive skyline on the Yangzi River. [2] The Chongqing Province was once part of the Sichuan Province, which had become too big for governing as a province, forcing the formation of Chongqing Province in 1997.

This makes Chongqing Province more of a municipality than a full blown province. Chongqing City has an interesting, long history dating back to 1100 AD. It became the capital of China during Chinese Nationalist Leader Chiang Kaishek's resistance to the Japanese invasion during WWII.

After communism overtook China, Chiang Kaishek and his followers occupied Taiwan, which still exists independently of mainland Chinese rule.

The Chongqing area is mostly hot, humid and foggy or smoggy and is nicknamed one of China's "three furnaces." That's probably why the Er Wang Dong explorers felt warm and cozy in their encampments on the cave's floor even though the caves are deep underground with ceilings reaching dizzying heights. [2]

The caves are located in the rural regions outside Chongqing City. But with the city's international access, once infrastructure is established within the caves, it will undoubtedly be available for guided tours.

Examples of caves open to guided tours and spelunkers

So far, the cave system that is the longest is in Kentucky, USA. It's called Mammoth Cave and is located in Mammoth National Park. The name refers to the enormous length of this cave system mapped so far, 365 miles.

Ten miles is allocated for guided tours of varying intensity. It is considered a top attraction for casual tourists and novice spelunkers. [3]

Not too far away and available for tourism or spelunking is southern New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns. Both are reached easily by car or bus. Some consider Harrison's Cave on the Caribbean Island of Barbados even more "touristy." It's accessed by a tramway.

Then there's the cave system in New Zealand known as the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Unlike the other cave systems, it's not a spelunker attraction, because it's filled with water. But tourists can be taken for boat rides in the caves to view the unusual light show of glowworms dangling from its walls.

Barton Cave is another waterway cave in the English-speaking Central American nation of Belize. It's a tourist highlight that offers spectacular views of interior domed caverns. [4]

Going underground could result in an interesting earthly adventure whether guided or spelunked.

Sources for this article include:

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk

[2] http://www.chinasage.info

[3] http://travel.nationalgeographic.com

[4] http://www.mnn.com

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