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Explorers discover a lost world with thick cloud and fogs trapped inside

Thursday, October 3, 2013
By SARAH GRIFFITHS

The view from a small window in the wall of the vast Niubizi Tian Keng in the Er Wang Dong cave system, where clouds form inside the huge spaces. Three tiny explorers can be seen negotiating the heavily vegetated floor

The cave system was discovered in the Chongquing province of China by a team of cavers and photographers
Caver Robbie Shone, from Manchester, said a few of the caves had previously been used by nitrate miners but had not been properly explored
The network, which includes 'cloud Ladder Hall' measuring around 51,000 metres squared, has water sources and vegetation of the floor

An intrepid cave explorer ascends a rope hanging from the Niubizi Tian Keng. This photograph is one of the first-ever images taken of one of a cave so large it has its own weather system

Explorer Duncan Collis (pictured) climbs a thin rope up to a small ledge overlooking the vast floor surface of Niubizi Tian Keng in the Er Wang Dong cave system. A team of expert cavers have been exploring the caves in the Chongquing province of China

The tranquil rural village of Ranjiagou falls nearby the hidden natural wonder is pictured

while an intrepid caver stands on the central ridge overlooking the cathedral-like Cloud Ladder Hall, where fog conceals the roof hundreds of metres above

American speleologist Erin Lynch struggles to pull her way across a raging torrent of white water, which is the main river in Quankou Dong. One of the explorers said they had to be aware of high water levels inside the caves, especially when it rained heavily on the surface

The spectacular beddings in the roof of Quankou. Photographer and caver Robbie Shone, from Manchester, was part of a team of 15 explorers on a month-long expedition who stumbled across the natural wonder

The underground camp in Sang Wang Dong is cosy and warm, according to the cavers. Hot food and drink recharge weary and tired explorers who sleep in either suspended hammocks or on roll mats on the floor, before venturing out into the vast surroundings

American speleologist Erin Lynch peers down over her shoulder into a giant void of cloud.The floor is over 240m below and although it cant be seen due to the thick cloud that lingers around her, the echo that reverberates several seconds later reminds her of the volume of empty space and her lofty location

Large stalagmites at the foot of a giant ascending ramp to another level of development in San Wang Dong create a spectacle mid-way through a section of cave called Crusty Duvets

A giant calcite stalactite boss, dwarfs team member Matt Ryan as he looks up at the giant geological feature

Duncan Collis and Erin Lynch walk through a section of cave in San Wang Dong called The Sea of Tranquility. Here remains of old Nitrate mining cover the floor in forms of harths - pits and unwanted spoil. One team member said it reminded him of being in an abandoned slate quarrying North Wales in bad weather

An explorer scales the rope up a vertical section of cave known as a pit in Xinu Attic

Crystal clear pools and slow moving streams make it easier to explore Quankou Dongs main river passage in the huge network of caves that have not welcomed visitors in years

source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2441450/Er-Wang-Dong-cave-China-huge-weather-system.html
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