May 23, 2019

A Hollow Victory

“Israel snatched the title of world’s longest salt cave from Iran after a group of 80 international spelunkers hailing from nine countries successfully mapped the Malcham cave in the southern Dead Sea Region.

The cave, which wends its way underneath the 11 kilometer (7 mile)-long massive block of salt known as Mount Sodom, clocks in at over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Iran’s 3N Cave, which previously held the title for world’s largest salt cave, is about 6.5 kilometers (4 miles).

Professor Amos Frumkin, the director of Hebrew University’s Cave Research Center, first discovered the Malcham Cave in the 1980s. Using rudimentary methods to map the length of the cave, including unspooling string behind the cavers, they estimated the Malcham cave was around five kilometers long.

In 2006, a group of European and Iranian cavers announced that they had successfully mapped Iran’s 3N Cave, which stretched for 6.5 kilometers, bringing the salt cave crown to the Iranians. 3N stands for “Three Nudes” or “Cave of Three Naked Men” though cavers can only guess where the name comes from.”

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