The world’s longest salt cave has been discovered in Israel’s Dead Sea region, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced on Thursday.
Previously, Israel’s regional rival Iran claimed that title with its 6.85-kilometre-long Cave of the Three Nudes (3N) on Qeshm Island.
Israel’s Malham cave is located in Israel’s Mount Sodom, which sits 170 metres below sea level at the south-western tip of the Dead Sea.
An international team mapped the Malham salt cave, and at 10 kilometres long, it now claims the title of world’s longest salt cave.
The discovery was made by an expedition led by the Hebrew University Cave Research Centre, Israel Cave Explorers Club, and Bulgaria’s Sofia Speleo Club, along with 80 cavers from nine countries.
Currently, the survey team is processing final data to create an electronic map of the cave and to publish its findings.
The survey team included cavers from Israel, Bulgaria, France, United Kingdom, Croatia, Romania, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Pictures taken inside the Malham Cave show a spectacular array of salt stalactites and salt crystals.
Efraim Cohen, a member of the Hebrew University’s Cave Research Centre, said: “Mapping Malham Cave took hard work.
“We cavers worked 10-hour days underground, crawling through icy salt channels, narrowly avoiding salt stalactites and jaw-dropping salt crystals.
“Down there it felt like another planet.”
“Our next and final step is to map the tightest spots and the most difficult ones to reach.
“When we’re all done, it’s likely we’ll add a few hundred meters to Malham’s impressive 10-kilometre length,’’ he added. (dpa/NAN)