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The General Department of Geology and Minerals and the Japan Caving Association on December 26 held a press conference to announce the finding of a volcanic cavern system in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong. 

Nguyen Van Thuan, Head of the General Department of Geology and Minerals, said Vietnamese and Japanese scientists have spent eight years investigating the caves. The volcanic cavern system, located in Buon Choah commune, Krong No district, could be the longest volcanic grotto in Southeast Asia, he added.
Largest volcanic cavern system discovered in Dak Nong

Dr. Hiroshi Tachihara, Honorary President of the Japan Caving Association, affirmed the volcanic cavern system is the longest of its kind in Southeast Asia with a total length of 25 km. The caves were formed millions of years ago, he noted, adding that they are of great significance for scientific research and tourism industry.

Vietnamese scientists will continue cooperating with Japanese partners to conduct further surveys and make comprehensive evaluation of the volcanic cavern system.

The Dak Nong provincial People’s Committee and the Viet Nam Geological Museum are coordinating to profile the cavern system along Serepoc River in order to have it recognised as a geological park in the future.

With a record length of three caves in the lava cave system recently discovered in Dak Nong Province, Vietnam has five longest lava caves in Southeast Asia. Previously, Hang Doi 1 and 2 (Bat Caves) in Dong Nai held the top spots.
The location of K'luk Chu crater and the caves B1 to B3 and C1 to C7 on a satellite photo
In the system consisting of dozens of caves, scientists thoroughly studied three caves denoted C7, C3, and A1. C7 is a volcanic tube cave with a length of over one kilometer and is the largest lava cave in Southeast Asia.

To reach cave C7, Mr. Tsutomu Honda said scientists had to hang up on the rope from top to get into the cave. Scientists were surprised to see so many traces of trees and lava inside. Besides, there are many structures characterizing the process of lava eruption of millions of years ago. "The floor of C7 cave is very beautiful, with many patterns and looks like the surface of a lava flow. There are many stalactites and different branches in the cave," said Dr. Tsutomu Honda.
Photo: Traces of lava flows remain in cave C7.
Then, the group survey C3 cave with the length of 594.4 meters. As described by Mr. Tsutomu Honda, this is a tube-shaped cave, with very smooth lava flows. On the cave walls are many monuments, especially moulds of plant fossil, suggesting the presence of a forest at the time of volcanic eruptions.

A1 cave is 456.7 meters long with the lava flows inside the cave bulging and scientists compare it as a dike.
With this result, according to Mr. Tsutomu, Vietnam holds five records of lava caves in Southeast Asia. In particular, the C7 is the longest tube-shaped lava cave in Southeast Asia; C3 holds second place; and A1 takes the fifth position. The 3rd and 4th belong to Hang Doi 1 and 2 (545 m long) in Dong Nai. The Gua Lawah cave in Indonesia is ranked 6th with a length of 400 m.
volcanic caves in Dak Nong
A frog species discovered in the C7 cave.

The research team began its survey in cave groups B and C (C1, C2, C4, C5, C6, C8) on Dec. 27.
To promote the site’s potential, the Dak Nong provincial People’s Committee has asked the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to work with the Vietnam Museum of Geology to carry out a project to study and evaluate the geological heritage.

The committee plans to make the geological park a national heritage site and has suggested to UNESCO that it wants recognition as a global geological park. The cave system will also be added to the province’s master plan of tourism development in the 2011-2015 period, and towards 2020.

Source: VOV/ Vietnamnet Brigde

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