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India's longest cave system found

An international team of speleologists have found cave system over 22.20 km long in Meghalaya's Jaintia Hills.

india Updated: Mar 05, 2006 23:04 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The longest cave system in the Indian subcontinent has been discovered in Meghalaya's Jaintia Hills district by an international team of speleologists.

The team found a cave system over 22.20 km long, which surpasses the previous known record of 21.55 km of another system existing in the same district.

"The linking of the Krem um im-Liat Prah cave system to Krem labbit (Khaidong) to create a single cave system of 22,202.65 m in length is the longest cave known to date in the Indian sub-continent," the team members told a press conference today.

The team comprising 17 members from the UK, two each from Switzerland and Denmark, one each from Austria and Ireland and five from India spent three and half weeks in the district focussing on the cave areas of Shnongrim Ridge near Nongkhlieh area.

This finding surpassed the previous record of the longest cave system in the sub-continent - the Kotsati Umlawam measuring 21.55 km, said BD Kharpran Dally, a reputed speleologist in Meghalaya,

Between February 7 to March 1 the team explored 39 caves, mapped and photographed, to discover 15,498 metres of new cave passage. Of the 39 caves mapped 36 were entirely new with only three being cave systems that were partially explored in previous years, he said.

Terence M Whitaker, a research biologist from the UK and a team member, said Jaintia Hills district has the highest concentration of caves in the sub-continent. Exploration of these would reveal new species of aqua animals.

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