Occasionally, when we go out for a walk, something new will catch our eye.
Huh, that's funny. I don't remember that tree being there, we think.
Was the tree just planted there recently? Has it been there for years?
Missing something like a tree is one thing. Perfectly understandable. But missing a hole in the ground the size of a football field? Well, that's something else.
But that's what a team of Canadian researchers are wondering after discovering a giant cave in a remote valley, deep in Wells Gray Provincial Park in British Columbia.
Holy hole, guys!
We say 'discovered' because as far as anyone can tell, this particular giant cave hasn't been seen by a human being before. Which would be quite remarkable for something this huge.
As researcher John Pollack told Canadian Geographic recently, "I’ve been in some of the biggest caves in the world, and this thing has an entrance that is truly immense." In fact, it may be the largest cave in Canada. Its opening is about 100 metres (328 ft) by 60 metres (196 ft). As for how far down it goes...
The team can see about 183 metres (600 ft) down, and there's currently no telling how far down it goes beyond that. A waterfall flows into the cave, and this—combined with its exceptionally steep walls—makes for a very dangerous climb.
As another team member, Lee Hollis, told Can Geo about climbing down into the cave, "This is by far the largest and most impressive entrance pit I’ve ever encountered, and during my brief descent it showed no signs of closing down."
See it for yourself in this video.
A hole in the records?
The exploration of this cave has only just begun. The team behind the discovery is hoping to assemble a group to explore it properly by 2020.
In the mean time, they are examining records to see if they can find any previous account of the giant cave by other mountaineers or cave explorers. This also includes Indigenous archives to see if there is a more ancient name and record of it.
If they can't find anything, then the task of naming this site would fall to these explorers. As it turns out, they already have a nickname for it—The Sarlacc Pit, after the tentacled mouth at the bottom of a sandy hole that Jabba The Hutt used to dispose of enemies in Star Wars: The Return Of The Jedi.
Yep, that's the one. In truth, we think that name is a bit unfair—hey, it's a cave, not a monster—but we'd agree that it feels like something out of science fiction or fantasy.
Maybe it only opened up a few days ago ...