Laser mapping discovers hidden cavern the size of FOUR Great Pyramids in China

Contributed by
Oct 7, 2014

Sure, there’s a lot of cool stuff in the ocean — but there’s also a whole world of unexplored stuff down deep in the bowels of the earth. The latest find?

Explorers have used laser mapping to discover a mind-blowingly huge cavern under the mountains of southern China. Dubbed the Miao Room, the “supercave” has been named the world’s most enormous cavern. As Gizmodo notes, if you do the math right, the space could technically hold four Great Pyramids. Or, you know, a small city.

The cavern was discovered by an expedition funded by the National Geographic Society, and reportedly measures some 380.7 million cubic feet (10.78 million cubic meters) in volume. Here’s how National Geographic described the laser-scanning process that mapped the massive space:

Our model is a Riegl VZ-400, used in architecture, engineering, and mining and now for the first time in caving. It's a metal cylinder about the size of a human head and weighs 21 pounds, not including its two nine-pound batteries or the tripod or laptop and cables. When running, it sits at about eye level, spinning 360 degrees and taking up to 122,000 measurements per second of everything within a maximum 2,000-foot radius.

It's fascinating to think there are still places like this that remain undiscovered, especially something this big. We'd love to go spelunking in this beast. Check out a rendering of the cave below, developed from the laser mapping:

(Via Gizmodo, National Geographic)

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