Saturday, November 7, 2015

Briton finds 6-million-year-old ‘virgin cave’ in Mulu Park

BY DESMOND DAVIDSON

A new cave, Conviction Cave, has been discovered in Sarawak’s Gunung Mulu national park in Baram. – Photo courtesy of Ramli Ahmad, Sarawak Forestry Corporation, November 7, 2015.

A new cave, Conviction Cave, has been discovered in Sarawak’s Gunung Mulu national park in Baram. – Photo courtesy of Ramli Ahmad, Sarawak Forestry Corporation, November 7, 2015.
A new cave, said to be six million years old and likely untouched by any human, has been discovered in Sarawak’s famous Gunung Mulu national park in Baram.
The park, famous for its limestone karst formations, is known for its enormous caves within the mountain, such as the Sarawak Chamber, currently the second largest cave in the world, and vast subterranean networks such as the Deear Cave – one of the largest single cave passages in the world.
The new cave, named Conviction Cave, was discovered by British explorer Andy Eavis (pic) and Sarawak authorities said it was an extremely significant find.
The cave was announced by Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem at the Sarawak Forestry Corporation’s 12th anniversary dinner in Kuching yesterday.
Eavis, 68, who has been exploring the Mulu national park for caves since 1977, made the discovery on October 15 while on an expedition to in area named The Hidden Valley.
The entrance of the cave is about 15km from the park headquarters or a two-hour walk over rugged terrain.
The most unique and intriguing feature is the vertical shaft on the cave floor which drops to more than 100m into darkness.
What’s at the bottom has yet to be discovered.
One reason no one, including natives who live in the park, has never entered the cave is because of its inconspicuous-looking entrance.
“It’s small. Just a crawl space,” SFC chief executive officer Wong Ting Chung said.
He said Eavis had to crawl 1km in a narrow passage before finding a cave chamber at the end of it.
The name of the cave came about as Eavis was convinced that something lay at the end, despite the crawl in the dark with no idea of where the passage led.
“It was his conviction that he would make a major discovery led him to name the cave, Conviction Cave,” Wong said.
Wong also described the cave as a “virgin cave”.
“There are no signs that any human have been in the cave in six million years. It is untouched.”
Wong said the cave could also be scientifically important to geologists.
He said the layers of limestone rock formations, untouched for centuries and which tells the age of the cave, could record the history of the earth.
He said geologists, for instance, could study climate change by studying the different layers of the limestone rock.
The caves in Mulu are famous for their size, such as the Sarawak Chamber which is 700m long, 396m wide and at least 70m high, large enough to accommodate about 40 Boeing 747s, without their wings overlapping.
Other notable caves are Benarat Cavern, Cave of the Winds and Clearwater Cave – the eighth longest in the world.
The park is also famous for its spectacular rock pinnacles, cliffs and gorges, all of which have become a major tourist attractions. – November 7, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/briton-find-6-million-year-old-virgin-cave-in-mulu-park#sthash.WNmnalVL.dpuf

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