General, Research, Technology

Why is the Romanian Cave Movile considered poisonous?

In 1986, during construction work, inThe Movile Cave, formed 5 million years ago, was found in Romania. Due to the abundance of Romanian caves, few people would pay attention to it. But during the study of the deep mine, it turned out that it had been closed from the rest of the world for 500,000 years. All this time, about 50 species of living beings that were previously unknown to science continued to live inside it. Due to the lack of sunlight, they no longer needed eyes and bright colors to attract individuals of the opposite sex, so most of them turned out to be blind and transparent. But the most interesting thing is that they began to feel great in a place where there is very little oxygen and a lot of toxic substances. Because of this condition, Movile caves are compared to an alien environment. So let's find out a little more about this place?

20-meter descent into Movile cave

Where is Movile Cave located?

Movile Cave is located in the southeast of Romania,near the town of Constanta. The discoverer was a certain Christian Lask, who, during construction work, sank into a mysterious mine and ended up in a horizontal cave. At the moment, to get into the cave, you need to go down a 20-meter long rope, swim through the hydrogen sulfide underground river and cross the narrow channels. Only after that, before the gaze of a person, there is a central cave, in which animals unique for this place live. Only a few people are allowed to go down into the cave, for a very limited time and in special costumes. All this is necessary in order not to bring new inhabitants to the mysterious place and not to change the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

Movile cave scheme

The most dangerous cave in the world

While in the earth's atmosphere the concentrationoxygen in the air is about 21%, in a cave this figure is at the level of 10%. But in the underground tunnels there is a lot of carbon dioxide (3.5%), methane (2%), as well as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. It is because of this that the Movile cave is considered very poisonous and dangerous for humans. Not only is it very stuffy there, but visitors can still be poisoned by ammonia or hydrogen sulfide. Ammonia damages the respiratory tract and causes severe coughing, and hallucinations at high concentrations. Since the poisonous substance is even in water, it can cause burning pain, swelling and blistering burns on contact with the skin. And hydrogen sulfide poisoning is characterized by headache, swelling of the face and even lungs. All this is another reason why one cannot stay in the cave for a long time even in a protective suit.

People inside the Movile cave

Movile Cave Animals

Inside the Movile Cave, about 50living beings new to science, and 35 of them are unique for this place. It is believed that the ancestors of all these animals were inhabitants of the tropical climate that was characteristic of Romania millions of years ago. Somehow, about 500,000 years ago, the animals were trapped underground. Some of them became extinct, but some have evolved and adapted to living conditions in the absence of sunlight and sufficient oxygen. All this time, relatively warm air remained in the cave, so the animals survived the ice age without any problems. Since sight and colorful bodies are not needed in the dark to attract females, they become blind and transparent.

Centipede Cryptops speleorex - one of the inhabitants of the Movile cave

Basically, the cave is home to bacteria,insects and crustaceans. Bacteria live by chemosynthesis, that is, they use toxic substances in the air to produce nutrients. Bacteria are food for insects, and they are food for larger animals. The largest predator of the Movile Cave is the centipede of the species Cryptops speleorex. Its body length is only 5 centimeters, but in the cave it is considered one of the largest. The existence of the centipede became known only recently and from now on it is believed that it stands at the head of the local food chain.

Video footage of dives into the cave and its inhabitants

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In fact, there are other caves in the world.with unusual creatures. For example, the so-called European Proteus (Proteus anguinus) can be found in the Postojnska Jama cave system with a length of 20 thousand meters. They spend their whole life in the larval stage, and the duration of their life reaches 100 years. Of the 500 eggs, only a couple of adults develop, so these are very rare creatures. You can read more about them in this article.