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Uncharted sinkhole discovered in north-central Vietnam

Uncharted sinkhole discovered in north-central Vietnam

Friday, July 05, 2024, 20:17 GMT+7
Uncharted sinkhole discovered in north-central Vietnam
The top of a newly-discovered sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Hoang / Tuoi Tre

A newly-discovered sinkhole in Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam features a vertical cliff about 100 meters high and covers nearly 5,000 square meters, an area where no one had previously set foot.

More than two years ago, the Quang Tri Discovery team from the provincial capital city of Dong Ha first spotted this sinkhole at the Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District via satellite images. 

Based on this discovery and the proposition of a reporter from Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, the Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve management board collaborated with the district’s rangers to organize a two-day expedition to explore the sinkhole on June 29 and 30.

A newly-discovered sinkhole seen from its bottom at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

A newly-discovered sinkhole is seen from its bottom at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

Starting from Tria Village in Huong Son Commune, the expedition group hiked along a stream bank for 1.5 hours to reach their campsite. 

From there, they spent nearly five hours navigating steep terrain through dense forests to finally arrive at the sinkhole.

Nguyen Tan Hieu, deputy director of the Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve management board, confirmed that this expedition marked the first time anyone had ventured into the sinkhole. 

“Prior to this discovery, neither the reserve nor the local rangers were aware of its existence,” Hieu stated.

A newly-discovered sinkhole seen from its bottom at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

A newly-discovered sinkhole is seen from its bottom at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

Situated nearly 800 meters above sea level, the sinkhole features a C-shaped top with a vertical cliff exceeding 100 meters in height. 

The upper rim juts outward, forming a canopy where small green plants thrive. 

The opposite side descends sharply, leading the expedition team through a steep slope into the sinkhole. 

The expedition team who discovered the uncharted sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

The expedition team who discovered an uncharted sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

Along the route, the group encountered numerous cave entrances and hollows, though time constraints prevented further exploration.

Inside the sinkhole, towering trees with circumferences larger than a person’s embrace stand tall and upright, amidst clear footprints of civets, stump-tailed macaque feces, and bird nests. 

A man sits on an unexploded bomb found in the newly-discovered sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

A man sits on an unexploded wartime bomb found in a newly-discovered sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

Notably, remnants of five unexploded American MK81 bombs from the American war in Vietnam lie within the sinkhole. 

Dr. Le Tuan Anh from the MienTrung Institute of Scientific Research, who joined the expedition, highlighted the sinkhole area’s rich biodiversity and urged further investigation to document new species and enhance Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve’s ecological value.

Towering trees thrive inside a newly-discovered sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

Towering trees thrive inside a newly-discovered sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

Currently, the Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve management board is proposing an ecotourism development project for the area. 

With the new sinkhole discovery and the presence of diverse flora and fauna, along with many rivers, streams, and caves, the region holds great potential for adventure tourism and trekking amidst the forested wilderness.

Footprints of animals found in a newly-discovered sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

Footprints of animals found in a newly-discovered sinkhole at Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Tao / Tuoi Tre

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