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Longest cave in Indian sub-continent found in Meghalaya

Written by: Staff

Shillong, Mar 3 (UNI) An international team of 28 cavers have linked the 'Krem UM Im/Liat Prah Cave system' to 'Krem Labbit (Khaidong)' in Meghalaya's Jaintia Hills to create a single cave system, measuring 22,202.65 meter (22.2 km) in length-the longest cave known to date in the Indian sub-continent.

Last year, the group found Kotsati Umlawan cave system in Jaintia Hills, measuring 21.55 km, which held the record of being the longest in the Indian sub-continent till the the latest discovery.

The adventure group comprised one caver from Austria, 17 from the UK, one from Ireland, two each from Switzerland and Denmark and five from India who spent nearly a month in the Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya focussing on the caving areas of Shnongrim Ridge near to Shnongrim Village in the Nongkhleih Elaka, Daistong on the south side of the Letein Valley and in the Semasi area.

Addressing a press conference here Mr Terence M Whitaker, a research biologist from the UK, today said during this time a total of 39 caves were explored, mapped and photographed to discover 15,498 metres of new cave passage in the Jaintia Hills.

The place could be recognised to have the greatest concentration of cave passage in one place within the Indian sub-continent.

Another member of the team Mr Simon Brooks said of the 39 caves mapped, 36 were new caves with only three being caves systems that were partially explored in previous years.

Mr Whitaker made it clear that there were longer caves in other parts of the world but the caves in Meghalaya were typically of the sub-continent and unique in nature.

Till date the whereabouts of over 1060 caves are known, of which 629 have been explored to yield in excess of 295 kms of surveyed cave passage, with much more still waiting to be discovered.

Much of the cave that has been found so far ''is impressive river cave mixed with huge fossil passage that creates cave systems equal in size and beauty to any found elsewhere in the world, putting Meghalaya firmly on the world-caving map as a significant caving region'', Mr Whitaker said.

The key finding from this year's exploration also included also discovery and exploration of Krem Labbit (Khaidong) in which 6,230.99 m of passage were surveyed and a large chamber (largest found to date in Meghalaya) measuring 50 m by 60 m and over 30 m in is height--named 'Agoraphobia Chamber' in respect of its impressive size.

More UNI PRS SB RN1556

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