Discovery was made in cave system beneath southern Vietnam
A system of lava caves, including one considered the longest in Southeast Asia, has been discovered in the southern province of Dong Nai, says Vietnam’s Institute of Tropical Biology.
Researchers from the institute joined colleagues from Germany in making the discovery of the system of 11 caves, formed by volcanic eruption, which they explored for two months.
The longest lava tube they explored was Doi (Bat) Cave, where the roof has collapsed in two places, sealing off two separate caverns, which the researchers named Doi 1 and Doi 2. The main section of the cave is about 426 metres long, 4 metres high and 10 wide. That beats the previous record-holder, Lawah Cave in Indonesia, which is 400 metres long.
The scientists discovered a multi-species ecosystem in parts of the Dong Nai system, where animals such as bats, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, cave crickets, flies, ferrets and frogs have made their home.
The German researchers will publish these and other findings in English, including maps and descriptions of the cave complex, via the Berlin Speleoclub.
Local authorities have called on villagers living nearby to help protect and preserve the complex and to stop catching bats in the caves, which could damage a potentially unique ecosystem.