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Chaozhou China a nice picnic, layer up for your subterranean trek and begin down the steep ladder into the darkness of the upper cave. Unlike what many people may think, the lava tube was formed almost 2000 years ago and was not at all affected by the explosion on Mount St. Helens in 1980. Chaozhou China is impressive, the longest lava tube in the world is the Kazumura Cave in Hawaii at almost 41 mi! Walk S as you immediately realize this is no ordinary cave. It’s 1/2 mi and about 45 minutes to the main cave entrance, so take your time. After more than 5 mi you pass the only skylight (besides the cave entrances) far too high to escape, but notice how the moss and ferns grow into the cave only as far as the light penetrates.

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Meatball in the lower cave is simple to reach but only with abundant lighting!.

The ceiling appears white for a ways, then the walls, too, as the tube narrows for a few feet. The cave widens again and the floor might be wet for a bit as you also must work down magma boulders (hiking gloves help) over a couple sets of steep lava falls. It does in fact funnel down quite narrowly with help from a fixed rope on one little 8-ft section. Then you hike over a few sets of rock piles where ceiling collapses have occurred and end up in a large section that’s very wide and tall just before the metal staircase and sign at the main entrance juncture.

The lower cave is very easy and only 2 mi long with gradual elevation change as you notice the interesting formations including a large boulder, known as the “meatball,” wedged in a narrow section about halfway. For the most part, the floor is much smoother than the upper cave and it stays fairly spacious until the tube tapers down to the end where you must crawl if you wish to explore the last few feet. Return the same way and ascend the metal staircase that turns to stone near the entrance at the information kiosk.

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