UK: British scientists are on an expedition to map a ‘never-ending’ cave network in a project that dates back more than 30 years. The twisting network of caverns underneath Gunung Mulu National Park, in Sarawak, Borneo, contains the largest cave chamber in the world, the largest cave by volume and what is believed to be the largest cave passage.
Scientists carry out bi-annual visits into several caves and have so far mapped out an incredible 186 miles of the underground network. Using lasers and other equipment, they measured the dimensions of different sections of the numerous caverns stretching throughout the UNESCO World Heritage site and fed them into a computer to build up the map.
Working with Borneo’s National Parks authority, the team also began mapping the area above the caves to help tourists trekking between the cave mouths know where they are.
Sarawak Chamber is the world’s largest, the Clearwater Cave system is the largest by volume and Deer Cave is believed to be the biggest passage.
More than 30 years ago, the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) led the first expedition to the cave system, which current team member Andy Eavis, 62, was part of. Other members of the team – all British – included leader Tim Allen, 49, Dr Gina Moseley, 26, web designer Hugh St Lawrence, professor Pete Smart and cavers Matt Kirby and Robbie Shone.
The team also took samples of sediment around the caves which will be taken back to the UK for analysis.