The tourism sector of the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong is expecting a boost following the recent discovery of a unique volcanic cavern system, which was officially announced in Hanoi on December 26.

The 25-km-long cavern system in basalt stones running along the Serepok river to Dray Sap waterfall in Krong No district came to the general public for the first time as the result of a seven-year study conducted by Vietnamese and Japanese researchers.

According to the General Department of Geology and Minerals of Vietnam, its scientists and partners from the Japan Caving Association found an entrance to one of the caves in 2007.

Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the General Department for Geography and Minerals of Vietnam, said through many short field trips to learn about the volcano Chu B’Luck in Buon Choah commune, Krong No district, the researchers have found dozens of unique basalt-stone caves formed by eruption of volcanoes which are believed to be active millions years ago.

Inside the caves, the scientists have found evidence of reptile species as well as human existence.

The longest cave, called C7, is around 1,100m with the width inside measured up to thousands metres and structures unique to volcano caves formed by reverse lava eruption.

According to scientists, C7 could be the longest volcanic grotto in Southeast Asia.

Many entrances of caves are hundreds metres in width, running thousands metres into the ground and possess many structures with scientific values.

The scientists agreed that the cavern system has all features to become a national geographical park as well as a candidate for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation to recognise as a global geographical park.

Dak Nong, one of the poorest provinces, has already long been considered a potential province of tourism with many waterfalls and beautiful scenery.

With the newly-discovered volcanic cavern system, it’s time for the province, whose economy is largely reliant on forestry and agriculture, to take tourism economy into its account.

Dak Nong’s representative said that the discovery of the system and the feasibility studies to turn it into a national geographical park has great significance to the social-economic development of Dak Nong and the Southern Central Highlands.

The cave system will help the province promote tourism further, he said.-VNA