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IN Travel & Adventure ON 21 Oct, 2016
Safeguarding some of the nature's deepest secrets inside them, caves are that part of the earth which we yearn to explore. Irrespective of how they are formed, caves look mysteriously terrifying, yet tempting.
Most caves are formed by the dissolving of large limestones but there are some that are just remnants or openings left behind by seas. While some require real strength and valour to be explored, others throw open their doors for even the meek public who wants to take a sneak peek into the beauty and majesty of these giant natural creations.
Let us take you through 11 of the most extreme caves in the world that will simply blow your mind.
True to its name, the Mammoth cave situated in south central Kentucky is the world's longest cave system. It has over 360 miles of subterranean passageways explored but experts believe that the full extent of this amazing cave might be more than 1000 miles long. It was established as a national park on July 1, 1941, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
A sea cave situated on the uninhabited island of Staffa, Scotland, Fingal's cave is popular for its mysterious and eerie echo sounds produced by the hexagonally shaped basalt stone columns that frame its structure. This unusual cave can be accessed by boats between April and September.
The most popular attraction site outside the city of Guilin, China, the Reed Flute cave was discovered in 792 AD. Its name has been derived from the reeds growing inside the cave. This amazing natural creation has some splendid rock and mineral formations, carbon deposits, and stone pillars that look brilliant in the multicolored lights that illuminate the cave.
An amazing system of caves that has been formed due to the continuous action of waves cutting through them, the Marble caves are a wonder. Housing one of the largest marble deposits in the world, these caves are situated in general Carrera lake in Patagonia, Chile-Argentina border. Filled with turquoise water that rises to different levels at different times, these caves look spectacular when sunlight strikes them, creating an impressive visual effect.
Situated in Gombak, Malaysia, these caves formed around 400 million years ago and have been named after the Batu river that flows through the limestone hill (Batu hill). The site serves as a popular Malaysian climbing site as well as a prominent Hindu shrine. The temple located atop the hill can be reached by climbing 272 steps. For the adventure enthusiasts who wish to climb the towering beauty, there are 160 routes that offer scenic beauty on the way up.
Lava tubes are formed when molten lava flows a channel for a prolonged time. One such wonder is near Kilauea, Hawaii, and makes for an interesting tourist attraction site when lava flow stops and leaves behind a cave like structure.
The deepest known cave in the world, Krubera cave delves more than 7,188 feet into the ground. Situated in the Caucasus Mountains of Abkhazia, this cave is not an easy one to explore. Finding your way inside the cave requires a skilled climber who is aware of reverse mountaineering as it takes weeks to go further down the earth while resting in different camps set up for the purpose.
One of the finest attractions in New Zealand, the Waitomo caves are nothing but a treat to the eyes. The caves house the highest population of glowworms, which are exclusive to New Zealand. These glowworms are the size of mosquitoes and can thrive only in dark caves or deep forests. These tiny creatures hang from the ceiling of the caves and illuminate the cave with their bioluminescent glow. Visitors can enjoy a boat ride through the caves and relish the splendid mini galaxy.
Heating of the magma chamber under the cave ended up filling the ground water with minerals and gave us a beautiful cave of crystals. Discovered only recently in the year 2000, the cave of crystals is located in Chihuahua in Mexico and is home to some of the largest crystals discovered. These extraordinary huge crystals measure over 30 feet in height and 4 feet in diameter. Most parts of these caves are still left unexplored as the temperature inside is unbearably hot and can allow hardly ten minutes of survival to humans with proper gear on.
A favorite among enthusiastic cavers, the Cave of Swallows lies 1200 feet below i.e a mind-boggling 333 meters freefall drop from the mouth of the cave to the lowest side of the opening, and a 370 meters drop from the highest side. This cave is an open-air pit situated in Mexico. It is big enough to house an NYC skyscraper like the Empire State Building and due to its height, it invites a lot of BASE jumpers who love to free fall into this enormous pit, which is the second deepest pit in Mexico and eleventh in the world. It has a thick vegetation cover on its mouth and looks even more attractive during rains with waterfall adding to its glory.
Measuring 9 kilometers in length and 150 meters in height, Son Doong cave was formed by the erosion of limestone from underneath the mountain. This erosion was caused by a river passing through and hence the name Son Doong, meaning "mountain river". Discovered in 2009, this is the largest cave in the world and has a network of caves inside with dense forest, an underground fast flowing river of 1.6 kilometers in length, and a lake. It is one of the most amazing and extreme caves on earth that will cost you $3000 if you wish to explore this magnificent cave.