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World's Biggest Cave Discovered In China With Help From Laser Technology

September 29, 2014

According to a recent article on the National Geographic, a series of super-caves have recently been mapped in detail in China with the help of laser-imaging technology. Known as the Miao Room cavern, situated in the Gebiha caves, this news is of the utmost interest to geologists the world over.

The cutting-edge laser technology which was used measures how large a number of these hidden chambers are, and found the system to exceed the previously held record of Sarawak Chamber in Malaysia in terms of volume. The Miao Room is larger than the cave found in Malaysia by around 10%, standing at 1.27 million square feet; the size of 22 football fields. However, the Sarawak Chamber is still larger in terms of surface area.

Laser scanning to generate maps of the cave structure was first used in 2013, with the results being studied by the University of Lancaster in the UK. The team also used the scanners to look at surrounding cave structures and produce maps of the hidden landscape within the region.

The lasers used allowed the scientists to create maps in unprecedented detail—for example, geologists are now aware that the small river running through the central canyon of the cave system is fed via a small shaft in the floor of the caves. With some boulders almost the size of entire houses, the laser technology aided the explorers' immensely by providing a clear image around such huge hurdles.

The same laser scanning technology was used to provide images of cave systems in southern China (the Hon Meigui Chamber and the Titan Chamber), as well as new details on the Sarawak Chamber.

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