The World’s Largest Cave Has Its Clouds, Rivers, and Jungles

When Ho Khanh, a forest man from Phong Nha, discovered Son Doong in 1990, it was thought to be the largest cave in Vietnam and the largest cave in the world in terms of volume.

Official measurements and surveying of Hang Son Doong were conducted in 2009 by the Howard Limbert-led British-Vietnam Cave Expedition Team. 

With an area of 38.5 million m3, the expedition team subsequently declared it the world’s biggest natural cave. Subsequently, the measurements were approved by several prominent karst geologists worldwide, such as Dr. Tony Waltham. In the same year, this team and National Geographic magazine declared Son Doong Cave to be the world’s biggest naturally occurring limestone cave. 

According to Oxalis’s calculations, the cave is so vast that it could fit an NYC block with 40-floor towers. After exploring and measuring it, the BCRA declared the cave to be the biggest in the world in 2010. Dolines, or gaps caused by collapsed ceilings, let sunlight seep in and create a variety of microclimates and diverse landscapes, including two rainforests, within the massive limestone cavern. There is still plenty to be found in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, since we have only visited around 30% of it thus far, according to Limbert. 

The Name Son Doong’s Origin

The cave is traditionally named by the people who discovered it. Thus, after much deliberation, Ho Khanh and the group of experts named the cave Son Doong (a compound word consisting of the terms Son, which means mountain, and Doong, which is the name of the valley inhabited by the ethnic minority Bru Van Kieu, and the Thuong river), or Son Doong, which refers to the cave inside the limestone mountain through which an underground river flows.

Special Characteristics Of Son Doong Cave

The Son Doong Cave is the world’s biggest natural cave, measuring around 9 km in total length and up to 38.5 million cubic meters in capacity. With 9.5 million cubic meters in volume, Deer Cave in Malaysia was considered the biggest natural cave before Hang Son Doong was found. With this space, Hang Son Doong is five times bigger than Deer Cave. However, the distinctive concealed subterranean world within the cave itself is what distinguishes Son Doong and makes it famous across the world. 

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