The thick layer of Lower Ordovician limestone near Wulong is crisscrossed by cave labyrinths. This limestone in some areas is covered with Paleozoic sandstone, helping to preserve it from erosion.
Some of the largest sinkholes in the world – such as the exotic Qingkou tiankeng – are located here and some of the most impressive caves in the world connect these giant sinkholes. Er Wang Dong is one of the major caves here, running very close to the 67 825 m long San Wang Dong Cave.
Cave of two kings
Cave starts in the south-western side of the 195 m deep Niubizi tiankeng. The enormous cave has a huge mass of air inside and has its own climate. These clouds appear also in Niubizi tiankeng. In fact, these clouds serve for weather forecast – when in tiankeng appears fog, soon will come rain.
Cave reaches also Qingkou tiankeng – gargantuan sinkhole created by several waterfalls, which still fall into this 295 m deep sinkhole. The largest passage – Tiankeng Express – here starts from the exotic ecosystem in the bottom of tiankeng.
Er Wang Dong is a complex cave with passages in several layers, numerous passages form a true maze.
The exploration of this cave is organized by the international Hong Meigui Cave Exploration Society. The cave is known to local people since ancient times – in Er Wang Dong village it was used as a source of potable water and as a storage site but far northern passages were used for nitrate mining.
Er Wang Dong cave runs very close to San Wang Dong cave. Er Wang Dong, in general, is located higher than the other cave – but it is possible that both caves are united.
Er Wang Dong Cave on the map
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|Location, GPS coordinates:||29.5853 N 107.9997 E (main entrance near Er Wang Dong village, mistake up to 300 m)|
|Where is located?||Asia, China, Chongqing Municipality, Wulong County, starts in Qingkou tiankeng and Niubizi tiankeng, main entrance is near Er Wang Dong village|
|Alternate names:||Erwan Dong|
|Length:||42 139 m|
|UNESCO World Heritage status:||part of "South China Karst", 2007, No.1248|
Though, those which we know offer a surprising diversity of unusual features and impressive sights.
This is the first study of the karst areas of China to be carried out by a Western geomorphologist, and almost all the sources are from Chinese works, as yet unpublished in the West. Karst areas are sensitive to environmental influences and Chinese attempts to deal with these are discussed here, as are Chinese methods of studying karst since they differ somewhat from those in the West.