Er Wang Dong Cave (Erwan Dong)

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Wulong Karst Area is rich with magnificent scenery, including giant sinkholes and caves. The 42 139 m long Er Wang Dong cave (Cave of two kings) is one of the most impressive landmarks in this area.

Wulong karst

The thick layer of Lower Ordowician limestone near Wulong is criscrossed 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 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 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 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. Cave is known to local people since ancient ancient times – in Er Wang Dong village it was used as 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.

References

  1. Hong Meigui website. Accessed on October 11, 2013.
  2. Waltham Tony. The 2005 Tiankeng Investigation Project in China. Speleogenesis.Info. Accessed on October 11, 2013.
  3. Marc Schwarz. Photos: exploring giant caves in China. Red Bull Adventure, 6 August 2013. Accessed on October 11, 2013.

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Er Wang Dong Cave (Erwan Dong) 29.585283, 107.999662 Er Wang Dong Cave (Erwan Dong)

Coordinates: 29.5853 N 107.9997 E (main entrance near Er Wang Dong village, mistake up to 300 m)
Categories: Caves
Values: Geology, Visual
Rank: 3
Address: 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
Depth: 441 m
UNESCO World Heritage status: part of "South China Karst", 2007, No.1248

Wonders of China

Karst landscape at Li River, China
Karst landscape at Li River / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

China has got it all – more than one billion people, large area, great and very long history, very distinct and at the same time – very diverse cultures, great and varied nature.

Caves

Entrance into Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines
Entrance into Puerto Princesa Subterranean River / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Every year there are reported exciting discoveries of new caves and discoveries of new qualities such as cave paintings in the ones known before. But there still is a feeling that our knowledge covers just a small part of all these monuments of nature.

Though, those which we know offer a surprising diversity of unusual features and impressive sights.

Recommended books

Karst in China: Its Geomorphology and Environment


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.

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