Research, Technology

Australia's deepest cave named after coronavirus explored

Recently, during the study of cave systemsAustralian island of Tasmania, scientists have discovered a depression a little over 400 meters long. Exploring this geological formation for tens of hours, experts came to the conclusion that they were dealing with the deepest cave in Australia. Previously, this status belonged to the Niggli cave - it is shorter than the found recess by as much as four meters. Researchers have given the new cave the highly unusual name Delta Option, after one of the most dangerous strains of the coronavirus. Scientists have been preparing for a descent into a deep cave for several months, because this is always a very risky undertaking. Such missions are associated with a variety of dangers - what can await people in caves?

A team of explorers who discovered Australia's deepest cave


  • 1 Australia's deepest cave
  • 2 What are the dangers of diving into a cave
  • 3 Why do people explore caves
  • 4 The deepest cave in the world

Australia's deepest cave

Australia's longest cave is located onisland of Tasmania, namely in the area of ​​June-Florence. The researchers found the entrance to the cave a long time ago, but did not dare to go down into it for several months. And all because they did not know the exact length of the deepening and they needed preparation. It is worth recognizing that they did the right thing, that at first they carefully prepared - the descent into the cave took 14 hours. According to the calculations of the members of the expedition, the exact length of the Delta Option cave is 401 meters. It is slightly longer than the previously discovered Australian Niggli Cave.

Map of the found cave

Why is cave diving dangerous?

The science that deals with the study of caves,called speleology. Experts in this field are engaged in finding out the origin of underground tunnels, age, composition of rocks and other features. In most cases, the discoverers of caves are speleologists who descend into holes in the earth's crust for sports and educational purposes. To overcome obstacles, they use special equipment, which includes scuba gear, hooks, safety systems, and so on.

One of the speleologists during the descent into the cave

Each descent into the cave is a huge risk.First of all, the danger is related to the fact that in case of danger, cavers have no way to quickly call for help, because mobile communications do not catch at great depths. In addition, it is always dark in the caves, and you can only find your way back from memory and leaving all kinds of marks on the walls. In general, without special equipment and the ability to navigate well in space, it is better not to climb into the caves.

During the descent into the cave, cavers risk their lives

Many caves have branches, most ofwho are led to a dead end. Some passages may collapse over time or form craters from which it is difficult to get out, but this rarely happens. Perhaps the biggest danger of the caves, for which it is impossible to be prepared in advance, is the high concentration of dangerous gases in some places. As you descend in the caves, there is an increasing likelihood of methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide getting into places of accumulation. In this case, people can die from suffocation.

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Why do people explore caves

For speleotourists, cave exploration is, infirst of all, the thrill and the test of your endurance. However, during dangerous walks you can make a great contribution to science, because in the course of studying the composition of rocks you can learn a lot of interesting things about geological processes and the history of the Earth as a whole.

Speleology can shed light on many questions about the structure of the Earth

In some cases, inside the caves are committedmajor archaeological discoveries. As we know, some human ancestors sometimes (but not always!) hid in caves. In such places, you can often find the skeletons of ancient people, their weapons and other household items. In some cases, the caves are fraught with secrets - recently, in one of the British caves, archaeologists discovered a secret room with traces of animals and people. You can read more about this discovery in this article.

Secret room inside British cave

The deepest cave in the world

In conclusion, it should be noted that the cave "VariantDelta is the deepest only in Australia, not in the world. The deepest cave in the world is the Verevkina cave, which is located on the territory of Abkhazia. According to 2017 data, its depth is more than 2.2 kilometers, so in comparison with it, the Australian find seems tiny. In 2018, the Perovo-Speleo team conducted an expedition to the Abkhazian cave and descended to a depth of 2212 meters.

Descent to Verevkina Cave

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During the descent into the cave, Verevkina died asat least one person. In August 2021, members of the Perovo speleological club found the remains of an unknown person inside. Subsequently, it turned out that the body belongs to a man who went on a solo expedition on November 2, 2020, without informing anyone about it. It is believed that he was stuck in a cave, unable to overcome the horizontal section.