( one of the New7Wonders of Nature)
A must-see for first time visitors and tourists in Palawan. The longest navigable underground river and reputedly the most beautiful subterranean river in the world.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 kilometres (30 mi) north of the city centre of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. The river is also called Puerto Princesa Underground River. The national park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on the northern coast of the island. It is bordered by St. Paul Bay to the north and the Babuyan River to the east. The City Government of Puerto Princesa has managed the National Park since 1992. The park is also known as St. Paul’s Subterranean River National Park, or St. Paul Underground River. The entrance to the Subterranean River is a short hike from the town of Sabang.
In 2010, a group of environmentalists and geologists discovered that the underground river has a second floor, which means that there are small waterfalls inside the cave. They also found a huge cave dome, measuring 300 meters above the underground river, incredible rock formations, large bats, a deep water hole in the river, more river channels, another deep cave, marine creatures, and more. Deeper areas of the underground river are almost impossible to explore due to oxygen deprivation.
On November 11, 2011, Puerto Princesa Underground River was provisionally chosen as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. This selection was officially confirmed on January 28, 2012.(Wikipedia)
Discovery of rare Minerals:
The serrabrancaite deposits in the underground river were confirmed by famous crystallographer Dr. Paolo Forti, who joined the Italian La Venta Geographical Association scientific expedition to PPUR.
Until its discovery, serrabrancaite could only be found in Alto Serra Branca near Pedra Lavrada, Paraiba, Brazil.
Serrabrancaite is actually another name for manganese phosphate. The mineral occurs as dark brown to dark greenish black isometric crystals up to 0.3 mm size. The crystals have an adamantine luster and are translucent. Chemical analysis of the crystals has yielded a composition of manganese, phosphate and water, thus, the empirical formula given is MnPO4.H2O.
But, where does the mineral come from or what was it originally?
According to experts, serrabrancaite comes from the mineralization or fossilization of “guano” – more known as the droppings of bats and seabirds that make their homes inside caves.
Aside from serranbrancaite, scientists also discovered new cave minerals robersite and janggunite. Other common but notable minerals found in the cave are calcite, gypsum, apatite, variscite, strengite, manganite, rodocrosite, and pirolusite.
“Cave experts themselves are amazed because only few caves in the world host more than three to four minerals, yet in the PPUR alone, they have unearthed at least 11, of which three are new cave minerals,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said.
Relative to this findings, the DENR posted a statement on their website saying that a “20 million year-old fossilized remains of a sea cow or sirenia have also been found embedded in perfect condition in the cave’s walls.”
Other natural wonders in the top 7 include South Korea’s Jeju Island, Indonesia’s Komodo Island, the Amazon rainforest, Vietnam’s Halong Bay, Argentina’s Iguazu Falls, and South Africa’s Table Mountain. (Article Credits to Mr. Querosaber)