Cave - Records and Superlatives

Records and Superlatives

  • The cave system with the greatest total length of surveyed passage is Mammoth Cave (Kentucky, USA) at 628 km (390 mi) in length. This record is unlikely to be surpassed in the near future, as the next most extensive known cave is Jewel Cave near Custer, South Dakota, at 242 km (150 mi).
  • The longest surveyed underwater cave is Sistema Sac Actun in Yucatán, Mexico at 215 km (134 mi). The record has been exchanged several times with Sistema Ox Bel Ha, currently at 182 km (113 mi).
  • The deepest known cave (measured from its highest entrance to its lowest point) is Voronya Cave in Georgia, with a depth of 2,191 m (7,188 ft). This was the first cave to be explored to a depth of more than 2 km (1.2 mi). (The first cave to be descended below 1 km (0.62 mi) was the famous Gouffre Berger in France.) The Illyuzia-Mezhonnogo-Snezhnaya cave in Georgia, (1,753 m or 5,751 ft) and the Lamprechtsofen Vogelschacht Weg Schacht in Austria (1,632 m or 5,354 ft) are the current second- and third-deepest caves, respectively. The deepest cave record has changed several times in recent years.
  • The deepest vertical shaft in a cave is 603 m (1,978 ft) in Vrtoglavica Cave in Slovenia. The second deepest is Patkov Gušt at 553 m (1,814 ft) in the Velebit mountain, Croatia.
  • The largest room ever discovered is the Sarawak Chamber, in the Gunung Mulu National Park (Miri, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia), a sloping, boulder strewn chamber with an area of approximately 700 by 400 m (2,297 by 1,312 ft) and a height of 80 m (260 ft). The nearby Clearwater Cave System is believed to be the world's largest cave by volume, with a calculated volume of 30,347,540 m3 (1.071713×109 cu ft).
  • The largest passage ever discovered is in the Son Doong Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam. Explored by joint Vietnamese-British cave scientists of the British Cave Research Association, it is 4.6 km (2.9 mi) in length, 80 m (260 ft) high and wide over most of its length, but over 140 m (460 ft) high and wide for part of its length.

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