Caves exert a great fascination for humans and are often popular attractions for tourists. A cave is a natural cavity formed by geological processes in a rock formation that is large enough for people to enter.
Primary caves such as lava caves are formed at the same time as the surrounding rock, secondary caves are formed later in the rock, among other things by erosion.
Here is the list of the 10 largest caves in the world
Mammoths in the underwater world
The cave system of the mammoth cave is partially traversed by the River Styx, named after the river of the underworld in Greek mythology.
The longest cave system underwater is the ‘Sistema Sac Actun’ found in Mexico on the Yucatán Peninsula, which has a total length of 311 kilometres.
‘Sac Actun’ – which means ‘white cave’ in the language of the Maya leads turquoise water into a system of limestone with stalactites and can be explored by ambitious divers.
Optimistic caves of plaster
In the Russian region of Perm, near the Kungur River, there is the longest underwater gypsum cave in the world, “the Ordinskaya”. The mineral-rich rock filters the ice-cold water of the cave and the white plaster lets the crystal-clear water shine in an unrealistic beautiful blue.
Over 4000 meters of the cave system has been discovered by cave divers so far.
At 236 kilometres, Western Ukraine’s Optymistychna Petschera, the Optimist Cave, the world’s third longest cave, is the longest gypsum cave in the world and the longest cave in Europe, making it one of the 10 largest caves in the world.
In a rock layer of marine sediments are found various cavities with gypsum crystals. The cave discovered in 1965 is not yet open to tourists.
Fire and Ice
Volcanoes are the reason for the formation of the longest and deepest lava cave in the world, the ‘Kazumura Cave’ in Hawaii, also called ‘Kilauea Caverns of Fire’.
At the foot of the Kilauea volcano, the cave is 65 kilometres long and 1101 meters deep leading to the lava rock that was created only 300 to 500 years ago. There are more than 100 entrances and it is possible to book a guided tour through parts of the cave.
The largest ice cave in the world is in Austria. The ‘Eisriesenwelt’ in the Salzburger Land impresses with a total length of 42 kilometres and is a popular destination. Fantastic ice formations are created by frozen and melting water that captivates visitors.
Fascinating highs and lows
Voronya Cave – Deepest Cave
At an altitude of 2191 meters, speleologists have to rappel in the Voronya Cave in Georgia to reach the bottom of the deepest cave in the world.
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High alpine limestone cave -Second Deepest Cave
The high alpine limestone cave near the Black Sea is extremely steep and is home to invertebrates even at a depth of 2 kilometres.
Vrtoglavica Cave – Vertically Deepest Cave
The deepest direct shaft of the earth in the form of a cave is found in Vrtoglavica Cave in Slovenia. Falling 603 meters vertically downwards into the cave leads to the bottom of the cave.
Hang Son Doong – Recently Discovered
In a secluded part of Vietnam in the middle of the jungle, approximately 250-meter-high and 150-meter-wide cave ‘Hang Son Doong’, meaning mountain river cave, was discovered by British researchers in 2009.
So far, a total of 56 kilometres has been explored, the largest cave space would provide space for a skyscraper or a jet plane.
Good Luck Cave
The Sarawak chamber in the Good Luck Cave on the Malaysian island of Borneo also has huge dimensions of about 70 meters in height, 700 meters in length and 400 meters wide.
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These were some of the largest caves in the world, so big that they feel like a completely different world altogether.