Mother Nature is responsible for a great number of interesting formations and structures scattered about the Earth. For example, the Sea Lion Caves found on the coast of Oregon has a chamber that measures 310 feet long and 165 feet wide, and is known as the largest sea cave in the world. In this article, you will also encounter facts that touch upon deep mines, underwater caves, active volcanoes, and polar ice caps.
Longest Underwater Cave System
The complex series of underwater passages associated with Sistema Ox Bel Ha (which translates in the Mayan language to “Three Paths of Water”) is known as the longest underwater cave system. The water region is located in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. As of May 2009, the underwater passages have measured 111,870 miles. Thanks to cave divers, the characteristics and measurements of the caves have been explored and mapped out.
Highest Active Volcano in History
Situated on the Argentina/Chile border, you will find Llullaillaco , a stratovolcano found on a plateau about the Atacama Desert. The last time the volcano erupted was in 1877. At 22,109 feet tall, it is noted as the highest recorded active volcano in the world.
Cavers from the Ukrainian Speleological Association broke records when they reached a depth of 7,188 feet 3 inches in the Krubera Cave (also referred to as the Voronya Cave). The cave is located in the Arabika Massif, Georgia. The event took place in September 2007, which was part of an underground expedition that lasted 29 days. More than 8,000 feet of new cave passage was explored during this period of time.
If you travel to the Yarlung Zangho valley in Tibet, you will find the deepest of its kind. With an average depth of 16,400 feet, the deepest point is actually 17,657 feet , discovered by a group of explorers in 1994. The deepest point of the valley is more than three times deeper than the Grand Canyon, which holds the honors as being the largest land gorge.
Biggest Cave Opening
The largest cave opening in the world is found at the entrance of the Cathedral Caverns in Grant, Alabama. The opening measures 126 feet wide and 25 feet high. In the beginning, the Cathedral Cavers were called the Bat Cave until it was transformed into a tourist attraction in 1955.
Highest Polar Ice Cap
Located close to the center of eastern Antarctica, Dome Argus is an incredibly large ice plateau that has a high point of 13,428 feet above sea level. This makes it the tallest ice feature on the continent.
Close to Carletonville, South Africa, you will find TauTona, which is the deepest mine in the world. Currently, AngloGold Ashanti owns this record-breaking mine. The original main shaft measured 1.24 miles long, which has since sink. The mine was open for operation in 1962 and by 2008, a depth of 2.4 miles has been reached. If you were to travel that far down, you’d battle rock temperatures that reach 140 degrees. The tunnels associated with the mine now measure nearly 500 miles , giving 5,600 miners a place of employment.
The Earth’s crust is the thickest in the world at the Himalayas with a thickness that measures about 46 miles.