Updated May 25, 2015
Exploring Son Doong Cave through 360° panoramas in NatGeo
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(TITC) - A series of 360° panoramic photos uploaded in National Geographic allows anyone with an internet connection to explore Son Doong Cave of Viet Nam.

With the desire to bring the wonders of Son Doong Cave to as many people as possible, photojournalist Martin Edstrom set out with a team to build a virtual tour to discover the unique beauties of the cave. This digital tour has newly introduced on the official website of National Geographic since 21 May 2015.

By 360° panoramic photos of key sections of Son Doong Cave, tourists have the opportunity to explore beauty of the cave on a computer, tablet or smart phone. Some of the largest passageways are about 91.4m wide and over 182.9m high. In each photo, the basic information about the scenery where tourists are visiting appears on the left side and on the right shows the location of the scenery.

Martin Edstrom also duded audio corresponding with each scene. It makes “virtual” visitors feel as discovering truthfully the cave.

According to Martin, to take the beautiful 360° panoramic photos inside Son Doong Cave, the most difficult problem is light. “For still photography or videography, you have to light in one direction. But for 360° views, you have to light in 360°.” said Martin.

You can explore the digital tour on the official website of National Geographic at the address: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/news-features/son-doong-cave/2/#s=pano1

Located in Ha Doong Area, Tan Trach Commune, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province, in the heart of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Son Doong Cave was first found in 1991 by Ho Khanh, a local man. In 2009, the cave was explored and published by a group of scientists from British Cave Research Association.

Son Doong Cave was formed 2-5 million years ago, when the river flowed through the limestone mountain area and was buried. The water eroded limestone and created an underground tunnel. In soft limestone areas, the collapse of tunnel ceiling formed large holes which became giant domes afterward. The cave is about 200m high, 200m wide and at least 8.5km long. With these tremendous dimensions, Son Doong Cave is much larger than Deer Cave belonging to Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysia (100m high, 90m wide, 2km long), and has replaced Deer Cave to take pole position as the world's largest cave.

Especially, Son Doong consists of two entrances, which is unique among explored caves in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. Exploring the cave, visitors were surprised with spectacular scenery of numerous stalactites of which some giant stalagmites are more than 70m high. Deep inside the cave exists a grandiose tropical jungle called "Garden of Eden" by the explorers. The jungle is home to a diversified system of fauna and flora. Besides, the cave possesses a 2.5km subterranean river with layers of shells agglomerated in the river bed. Not far from the "Garden of Eden" lies an enormous "pearl collection" consisting of tens of thousands of small stone pieces in dry ponds, contributing to magnificent beauty of the cave.

Thu Giang

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