Wednesday , May 12 2021

Newly discovered cave in BC may be the largest ever found in Canada

The newly discovered cave in the distant valley in British Columbia can be the largest in the country.

This function, in the northeastern part of the province of Wales Gray, was noticed by a team of helicopters from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in the province in March, while they conducted a caribou census.

Geologist Kathryn Hickson, who first went to the cave in September, said the discovery promises a dramatic new chapter in the Canadian Cave exploration story.

"It was absolutely amazing," she said. "I immediately admitted that this is very important."

"It's about the size of a football field," said geologist Catherine Hickson. "So, if you think of a football field and put that soccer field in the end, so the loop will go down." (BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change / Catherine Hickson / Canada)

Before traveling, Hickson and his fellow researchers, including cave expert John Pollack, spent several months studying satellite images and cliffs in the area, she said.

The entrance to the cave is about 100 meters long and 60 meters wide. While its depth is difficult to measure due to fog of the waterfall, initial trials show that it is at least 135 meters deep.

It is an important sign – an important feature for Canadians to be proud.– Geologist Katherine Hickson

"It's about the size of a football field," Hickson said. "So, if you think of a football field and put that soccer field in the end, to take this pit. Think about this giant circular or oval hole that goes down and down. It's really amazing."

The cave is best known for its type, a varied "rocky karst", which is marble stained with other types of ancient ocean rocks, she said.

"It's in an area where this size of a cave is unusual," she said. "It's an important sign – an important feature for Canadians to be proud of."

The people who first noticed the cave from the helicopter named Pete of Sarlac because of his similarity to the sarlak cove, a creature from Star Wars: The Return of the Giants.

The formal appointment of the cave will take place after consultation with the First Nations, she said.

The feature was formed under the glaciers for potentially tens of thousands of years, so there is no way to know the true era of the cave right away, Hickson said.

"Right now, due to the glacier recession, it is open to heaven," she said, adding that when the ice is withdrawn from the climate change landscape, more such features can be detected.

Although the cave is in a remote, uneven valley covered with snow and ice for much of the year, Hickson says the researchers keep the exact location secret, to preserve the only area.

Hickson said further research and exploration of the cave and its unique geography are likely to be carried out in 2020, depending on funding.

"We think everything is known and everything is revealed," she said. "But here is a great discovery that has been made in today's world and it has probably never been seen and certainly not been explored so far".

"It's just a message that there are still things they need to do, yet to be discovered."

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