Central Highlands volcanic cave system receives global geopark nomination

By Nguyen Quy   September 25, 2019 | 04:15 pm GMT+7
Central Highlands volcanic cave system receives global geopark nomination
The Krong No volcanic system runs from the mouth of a volcano in Choah Village along the Serepok River to D'ray Sap Waterfall in Dak Nong Province, Central Highlands. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

The Krong No volcanic cave system in Dak Nong Province has been nominated for UNESCO recognition by the Global Geopark Network.

Ton Thi Ngoc Hanh, Vice Chairwoman of the Central Highlands province, said Tuesday that Krong No was among 11 applications submitted to the UNESCO to seek recognition as a global geopark.

The final result is expected to be announced in April 2020. If successful, Krong No will become the third global geopark in the country after Dong Van's karst plateau in Ha Giang Province, recognized in 2010, and Non Nuoc Cao Bang (2018) in Cao Bang Province, both in northern Vietnam.

Non Nuoc Cao Bang National Park in northern Vietnam was declared a new global geopark by UNESCO in 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Khoa.

Non Nuoc Cao Bang National Park in northern Vietnam was declared a new global geopark by UNESCO in 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Khoa.

"UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development," the United Nations body says on its website.

Geoparks must possess geological heritage of international value to be considered by UNESCO.

Besides Krong No in Vietnam, the Global Geoparks Network, a UNESCO assisted network that seeks the promotion and conservation of the planet’s geological heritage, as well as encourages the sustainable research and development by the concerned communities, has also submitted 10 other sites for recognition as global geoparks, with Canada, China and Spain having two nominations each; and Finland, South Korea, Turkey and Nicaragua having one each.

The Krong No volcanic cave system in Dak Nong has been studied by scientists since 2007. The Vietnam Geological Museum and Japan Volcanic Cave Association have said it is the largest such system in Southeast Asia.

It is home to 55 geosites, seven of which are of international significance. Notably, the volcanic cave system features unique characteristics that are rarely found in the region or the world, scientists said.

The caves here are not officially open to tourism yet. Visitors who want to explore the caves must ask locals to lead them.

Provincial authorities say designation as a global geopark would help conserve the cultural and geological heritages and protect the landscape.

In September 2018 scientists published traces of prehistoric humans found in the volcanic cave system. Earlier scientists had only found such traces in volcanic caves in South Korea. Thus, this was an important scientific finding.

Vietnam is currently establishing a network of geoparks. Apart from Cao Bang and Ha Giang, five other provinces including Quang Ngai and Phu Yen in central Vietnam, Dak Nong and Gia Lai in the Central Highlands and Bac Kan in the northern region are also planning to establish their own geoparks.

 
 
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