Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Kubla Khan Cave         

In the Tasmanian highlands near the farming community of Mole Creek, to the north of Cradle Mountain, there is a magnificent cave system, Kubla Khan Cave. The caves began to form 2-3 million years ago in 450 million year old limestone that was uplifted and folded 70 million years later.

It takes its name from the poem Kubla Khan by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It is easily the most impressive cave system in Australia, and maybe the world. Its spectacular attractions are named according to the Kubla Khan theme. The caverns are huge, even bigger than cathedrals. In the centre of a dome shaped cavern called Xanadu Chamber there is a 17 m high stalagmite that has been named The Khan. The only other formation in Xanadu Chamber is a 24 m column on one side of the chamber that stretches from the ceiling to the floor. 

Dulciner chamber is encrusted with stalagmites and straw-sized formations and needle-shaped calcite forms. It also has several grottoes around the walls in which the walls are encrusted with delicate helictites, about the thickness of a straw but twisted in various directions. They are reminiscent of blown-glass formations. 

The Forbidden City has rows of large stalagmites called The Khan's Army. Hanging from the roof there are also more than 20 large shawl formations, each several metres long by half a metre, all streaked with bands of white, red and brown, that have folds and wave forms that give the impression that they are blowing in the breeze. There are also curtain formations that  have been compared to theatre curtains. Part of the floor of The Forbidden City is made up of numbers of small rimstone pools that give the impression of overlapping basins.

The Pleasure Dome has many rimstone pools and sparkling flowstones.

The Jade Pool is one of the smaller grottoes that is almost enclosed with walls of streaked, creamy-white flowstone rising from a clear turquoise pool lined with scalloped pancakes of crystalline material. The walls have the appearance of frozen waterfalls.

The Opium Den is another small grotto containing a tangled mass of brown helectites.

Sources & Further reading



Last Updated 30/08/2011 



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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading