‘Like an Alien Planet’: Malham Salt Cave is World’s Longest Say Experts

It’s like another planet, say researchers.

There’s a massive labyrinth beneath Mount Sodom, and it’s called the Malham Salt Cave.

The massive cave located in Israel has recently been named the world’s longest, and experts have revealed its slowly growing.

At around 10 kilometers long, the labyrinth decorated by intricate stalactites ends just adjacent to the Dead Sea.

The cave’s interior is decorated with intricate, twisted rods formed by salt which descends from the cave’s ceiling. Salt crystals are visible along many of the cave’s walls.

Experts say that the walls of the cave are made of the same type of salt usually used to season food.

This formation is made entirely of salt. Image Credit: Ruslan Paul / Hebrew University.
This formation is made entirely of salt. Image Credit: Ruslan Paul / Hebrew University.

Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a collection of experts from Israel, Bulgaria and other nations performed a never-before-seen survey of the cave to determine its length.

The Malham Salt Cave is composed of one hundred known chambers, the longest of which stretches more than 5,600 meters.

According to Carbon-14 tests, the cave is around 7,000 years old. Image Credit: Ruslan Paul / Hebrew University.
According to Carbon-14 tests, the cave is around 7,000 years old. Image Credit: Ruslan Paul / Hebrew University.

Curiously, the opening of the massive cave is not far from a salt pillar known locally as ‘Lot’s wife’, after the biblical character who was supposedly turned into stone after looking back at the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

“What’s unique about this cave, as opposed to other salt caves in the world, is that it’s the longest in the world,” explained Boaz Langford, a researcher at the university’s Caves Research Center.

The full map of the explorations of the massive cave has still not been published.

“By comparison, Iran’s Qeshm Island salt cave, now the world’s second largest salt cave, measures only 6,580 meters [or 4.1 miles],” the researchers explained.

To fully understand the extensive size of the cave, and accurately map it will require more work.

“Mapping Malham cave took hard work,” Efraim Cohen, a member of the research team, told the Jerusalem Post, describing long days spent underground inside the system, which was first identified almost 30 years ago.

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