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British-Vietnamese cave expedition discovers 22 new caves in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Vietnam

A British-Vietnamese cave expedition team has discovered 22 new caves in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park and surrounding forests in Quang Binh province, Vietnam.

On 14 April, the Management Board of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park announced that the joint expedition comprising 12 speleology experts had identified the additional caves while surveying areas within the national park boundaries in Minh Hoa and Tuyen Hoa districts, as well as neighbouring buffer zones. 

The expedition mapped a total of 3,550 meters from the 22 newly discovered caves and 3 previously known caves that were further surveyed. The cave lengths ranged from 30 to 572 meters, including four of the longest: Va Cave (516 meters), 12/2 Dry Cave (404 meters) within Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park; Vuc Hung Cave (430 meters) in Thượng Trạch commune, Bo Trach district within the national park's buffer zone; and Ong Dau Cave (572 meters) in Lam Hoa commune. 

Cave entrances were found between 46 to 550 meters in height, and depths ranged from 32 to 154 meters. Within the national park's core zone, 7 caves totaling 1,415 meters were surveyed. In the buffer zone, 7 caves totaling 1,027 meters were mapped. The surveyed area in Lam Hoa commune contained 11 caves totalling 1,108 meters.

According to the park's management board, the newly discovered caves have only received preliminary identification, location and description so far. Further detailed surveys and studies are still needed to properly assess their values and inform conservation and sustainable development measures.

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