Cave Facts

  • Caves are giant holes that run horizontally underground. Holes that plunge vertically are called potholes.
  • The most spectacular caves, called caverns, are found in limestone. Acid rainwater trickles through cracks in the rock and wears away huge cavities.
  • The world’s largest known single cave is the Sarawak Chamber in Gunung Mulu in Sarawak, Malaysia.
  • The deepest cave gallery yet found is the Pierre St Martin system, 800 m down in the French Pyrenees.
  • Caverns can be subterranean palaces filled with glistening pillars.
  • The longest cave system is the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, USA, which is 560 km long.
  • Many caverns contain fantastic deposits called speleothems. They are made mainly from calcium carbonate deposited by water trickling through the cave.
  • Stalactites are icicle-like speleothems that hang from cave ceilings. Stalagmites poke upwards from the floor.
  • The world’s longest stalactite is 6.2 m long. It is in the Poll an Ionain in County Clare, Ireland.
  • The world’s tallest column is the Flying Dragon Pillar in the Nine Dragons Cave, Guizhou, China.