Despite the dangers involved in exploring the world’s most mysterious caves, scientists are endlessly drawn to devoting their time and effort to learning from them. Far more than just voids beneath the Earth’s crust, caves are rich hosts to a variety of relics and life forms. Beyond their dark openings lurk an array of vivid colors, an entirely new environment, a complex ecosystem waiting for us to discover its secrets.
Imagine what we might be able to do if all this information was to be unlocked? Within these strange environments, and among the creatures capable of inhabiting them, may lie the answers to pressing problems, like climate change and the processing of pollution. The possibilities are as broad as the caves themselves are deep. Moving forward, it is a journey that will be, at the very least, informative, dangerous, and full of life.
Any person without the proper protective gear would not last more than thirty minutes inside the Cave of Crystals in Naica, Mexico. The atmosphere within its expanse is around 118 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 90% humidity, so the temperature would drop even the hardiest of humans in a snap. We’ve shown you earlier how researchers remain perplexed at the persistence of life within the crystals themselves, which are estimated to be around 50 million years old.
These crystals have the appearance of huge, luminous bars that have been struck into the land. Some are around 36 feet long, weighing about 55 tons. Once you step inside the cave, these crystals tower over you, and they are formidable, to say the least.
The Bottomless Underwater Cave
The mesmerizing underwater cave of Chinhoyi Caves in Zimbabwe has been attracting explorers ever since its discovery in 1888. Deep water divers have explored as deep as 120 meters, but no one has reached the bottom to date, so luckily there's still lots to be discovered.
The cave system is composed primarily of limestone and dolomite. In the main cave you can find a pool of cobalt blue water, which is known as the Sleeping Pool or Chirorodziva ("Pool of the Fallen"). Scuba Diving is possible in the caves all year round, and the conditions are optimal as visibility is high and temperatures never rise beyond the 72 to 75 °F (22 to 24 °C) range.
Explore the Depths of Majlis al Jinn
Majils al Jinn is tucked away in a remote area of the Selma Plateau in Oman. It is the second-largest cave chamber in the world, proving a challenge for adventure seekers, as you have to hike to the entrance of the cave and get lowered in by rope. As you get lowered into the depths of the cavern, you’ll get a true appreciation for it's beauty.
Up until 2008, Majlis al Jinn was a popular BASE jumping site, and several events and special promotions were hosted there until the Oman government placed declared it off limits.
Feast Your Eyes in This Salty Wonder
Recently an Israeli-led research team explored the Malham Cave in the Negev region of Israel, just southwest of the Dead Sea. Measuring more than 6 miles (10 km) in length, it's well ahead of Iran's Namakdan which measures 4 miles (6 km), and now holds the record as the world's longest salt cave. As it's mapping is still incomplete, it's likely that they'll add a few hundred meters as they reach the tightest areas of the cave.
Like its name implies, its walls of this "salt cave" are made out of the same type of sodium-chloride that's in the shaker on your kitchen table. Radiocarbon dating revealed that the cave is around 7,000 years old. It was reported that one of the team members added some of the salt to his pasta. Quite resourceful if we must say.