Google Doodle, a temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages, commemorated the discovery of Son Doong Cave -- the world’s largest natural cave in the north-central Vietnamese province of Quang Binh -- on Thursday.
The doodle, which depicts sunlight illuminating a person standing in a giant sinkhole located deep in Son Doong Cave and lighting up many green shades of mountains and forests, was rolled out in Vietnam and 16 other countries and territories including the U.S. Virgin Islands, the UK, Romania, Sweden, Greece, Singapore, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Thailand.
Situated in the heart of the UNESCO-listed Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh, close to the Laos - Vietnam border, Son Doong Cave was first discovered by a local farmer who was seeking shelter from a passing storm in the jungle in 1990.
Only on April 14, 2009 did the grotto become internationally known as the world’s biggest cave after a group of cavers from the British Cave Research Association conducted an expedition there.
|Sunlight illuminates Son Doong Cave in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Oxalis|
The Guinness Book of World Records published a book of world records in 2013 which recognized Son Doong Cave as the largest grotto in the world.
Tourism activities involving the cavern have been organized in a restrictive way as the People’s Committee of Quang Binh has imposed a cap of 1,000 visitors every year.
Since its opening to tourists in August 2013, the cave has welcomed 5,025 travelers, including 1,997 Vietnamese nationals, 1,327 Americans, 320 Australians, and 197 Britons.
More people have stood on the summit of Mount Everest than have witnessed the surreal beauty inside the enormous cave, according to CNN.