Now that’s down! Explorers discover the deepest known cave in Australia

Explorers have discovered the deepest known cave in Australia – and have named it after a type of Covid virus.

The cave, called Delta Variant, is 1,315 feet (401 meters) high in the Johnny Florentine Karst region of Tasmania, the island of South Australia.

Delta Variant is slightly deeper than the previous record holder in Australia, Nigley Cave, which is 1,302 feet (397 meters) deep and is located in the same cave system.

However, neither of them compares to the deepest known cave in the world – Veryovkina Cave in Abkhazia, Georgia, which reaches 7,257 feet (2,212 meters) in height.

An elite team of nine cavemen from southern Tasmania set a new record for the deepest cave in Australia at the Niggly and Growling Swallet Caves System in Tasmania

Delta Variant is slightly deeper than the previous record holder in Australia, Nigley Cave, which is 1,302 feet (397 meters) deep and is located in the same cave system

Delta Variant is slightly deeper than the previous record holder in Australia, Nigley Cave, which is 1,302 feet (397 meters) deep and is located in the same cave system

How are caves formed?

Caves form when flowing water slowly dissolves rocks over a long period, explains Gabriel C. Rao, a lecturer at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia.

Specifically, it forms within certain geologic formations called “karst” – which includes structures made of limestone, marble, and dolomite.

“Karst is made of tiny fossilized microorganisms, shell fragments and other debris that have accumulated over millions of years,” he said.

“Long after they are doomed, small marine organisms leave behind their ‘calcareous’ shells made of calcium carbonate.

These calcareous deposits accumulate in relatively loose geological structures. As water flows down through cracks in the rock, it continually melts the rock to slowly form a cave system.

Read more

The so-called Delta Variant is associated with the Niggly and Growling Swallet cave system in Tasmania, northwest of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.

Its height is 1,315 feet, which is the equivalent of three Sydney Harbor bridges or four of London’s Elizabeth Towers on top of each other.

An elite team of cavemen from southern Tasmania discovered the cave after 14 hours underground and after six months of preparation.

The team entered the cave around 11 a.m. local time last Saturday (July 30) and exited at about 1.30 a.m. on Sunday.

“I was definitely nervous, you feel so aware of your death,” said team member Ciara Smart.

“Though you know you’re safe, it’s pretty scary and the sound too—it’s the constant roar of the waterfall. You can’t hear anything above your breath, it’s scary sometimes.

According to the explorers, the cave was named after the Covid variant ‘to remind future caves of contemporary events’.

Parts of the cave are named after various Covid-related terms, including ‘Test Station Queue’, ‘Super Spreader’ and ‘Daily Cases’, ABC reports.

The explorers encountered difficult conditions underground, in part due to the rising waters due to the recent snowfall of the Australian winter.

“The cave was very daunting,” Kaffir Ben Armstrong said.

'Exhausting expedition': Explorers celebrate when they reach the bottom of the Variant Delta, Australia's deepest known cave

‘Exhausting expedition’: Explorers celebrate when they reach the bottom of the Variant Delta, Australia’s deepest known cave

The explorers encountered difficult conditions underground, in part due to the rising waters due to the recent snowfall of the Australian winter.

The explorers encountered difficult conditions underground, in part due to the rising waters due to the recent snowfall of the Australian winter.

“It was very vertical, requiring hundreds of meters to go up and down the ropes.”

The cave is located meters from the entrance to the Niggly and Growling Swallet Cave System.

It includes Niggly Cave, discovered in 1994, which was once the deepest known cave in the country.

The Delta Variant is just an “aperitif in the wider world of caves,” said Gabriel C. Rao, lecturer in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at Newcastle University.

He wrote in The Conversation: “I am sure there are small spaces, very convenient for us to explore, and which open up to systems much taller or larger than we have ever discovered.”

Pictured is a cave explorer at Niggly Cave in Tasmania, the previous Australian record holder to hold a cave for depth.

Pictured is a cave explorer at Niggly Cave in Tasmania, the previous record holder for a cave in Australia.

The trapped underground cave has been rescued alive after a three-day mission

A critically injured person, stranded in a cave system 900 feet deep under Brecon Beacons after falling from a 50-foot ledge, has been rescued dramatically last November.

The man in his forties was pulled from the caves in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu by a team of rescuers.

Working in 12-hour shifts, about 250 workers transported the man out of the cave system on a stretcher.

After he was lifted to the surface, rescuers clapped and cheered him before he was helped to rescue a cavernous Land Rover ready to be transferred to a waiting ambulance.

The operation, which took 57 hours and lasted three days, was the longest of its kind in Wales.

Nearly 250 emergency responders – including the team that rescued 12 young Thai players in 2018 – were painstakingly hauling the injured man on a stretcher through narrow caverns punctuated by gushing streams and waterfalls.

Read more

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.