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‘Awe-inspiring’ cave revealed in Canada’s wilderness

'Awe-inspiring' cave revealed in Canada's wilderness
'Awe-inspiring' cave revealed in Canada's wilderness

A huge unexplored cave of “national importance” was found in the Canadian wilderness.

It had been seen in April with a government survey staff emphasizing the caribou population from the distant Wells Gray Provincial Park, in British Columbia.

A group of cave pros and geologists took a closer look at the discovery in September. They stated the cave “guarantees a stunning new chapter in the narrative of Canadian cave mining”.

Government biologist Bevan Ernst, that had been about the caribou survey group, unofficially dubbed the discovery “Sarlacc’s Pit” since it seemed to him somewhat like the lair of a Sarlacc, a fictional creature from the planet Tatooine showcased in Star Wars.

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“We were searching to get caribou, not caves, ” Mr. Ernst told the BBC.

He explained helicopter pilot Ken Lancour was the person who believed the profound, snow-filled pit they’d seen was worth bringing to the attention of provincial parks officials.

Mr. Ernst said the hard-to-access cave is in a region that “is about as distant as we become” and is close to where the park’s mountainous landscape transitions to “glacier-type nation”.

He suggested that it may not have been formerly viewed since it would normally have been coated with snow or snow avalanche debris once the staff did their yearly census.

Geologist Catherine Hickson and cave expert John Pollack headed the 9 September reconnaissance go to for a preliminary exploration of this cave after reviewing photos and satellite pictures of this attribute.

The entrance of this cave is 100m (328ft) extended by 60m (197ft) broad – about the size of a small football pitch or a National Football League football area.

The group thinks that the cave is 180m heavy, but have been prevented by officially measuring the thickness because of mist by a”tumultuous” river which flows to the cave entry.

Researchers say the measurements are unprecedented in Canadian caving history. Ms. Hickson told the BBC that standing alongside the cave’s enormous entrance was “amazing”.

“You are able to see snow in the base, however, you might also find this black emptiness,” she explained.

The reconnaissance team considers the period of the cave operates at 2km (1.25 miles). It’s also the largest known cave of its own kind.

“Karsts” are all portions of the landscape composed of limestone, together with sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns.

“Sarlacc’s Pit” is a “striped karst”, marble interbedded with stone units comprising less marble, which gives the stone a striped appearance.

Ms. Hickson says next step is building a visit to explore the inside of the cave, which is an extremely technical effort as a result of vertical fall into the pit along with the water, ice, and snow inside.

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She called being a part of this group to see the website for the very first time “very rewarding”.

“It shows you, you do not understand everything,” explained Ms. Hickson.

“There are matters yet to be discovered.”

About the author

Rick Noack


Rick has worked as foreign affairs reporter who covers Europe and international security issues from The Washington Post's Berlin bureau. Previously, he worked for The Post from Washington as an Arthur F. Burns Fellow and from London. Originally from Germany, he studied at Sciences Po Paris, Johns Hopkins University and King's College London.

To get in touch with Rick for news reports he published you can email him on [email protected] or reach him out in social media linked below.

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