Batu Caves, KL (Earthcache)
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Batu Caves are a major tourist attraction on the North edge of KL attracting several million visitors a year. Climbing required to see Cathedral Cave. It is HOT here! Access to Dark Cave requires a guide and walking in undeveloped caves. Be prepared.
1. Identify, photograph and post at least two cave features created by water.
2. Tell us about your experiences
3. To prove you visited, email the cache owner what unusual large item you can find beside the posted coordinates.
Batu Caves are a series of several hundred limestone caverns in a large limestone outcrop overlooking the city of KL. The cave range from quite small to the largest known as Cathedral Cave (accessed above the posted coords) which can hold thousands of people at a time and is 100 m tall.
These caves are formed out of Limestone, a sedimentary rock composed largely of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate: CaCO3). Limestone is widely used in masonry and architecture and is a key ingredient of quicklime, mortar, cement, and concrete.
The solubility of Limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to important phenomena and often creates caves and cave features. In fact, most well-known natural cave systems are through Limestone bedrock like that found at Batu.
In some of the Batu Caves the limestone has been completely washed away from the top to create natural skylights. Other caves in the system do not have these natural skylight (like Dark Cave) and the water activity has been restricted to creating tunnels and caverns underground.
One can observe significant ongoing water activity at Batu Caves (depending on rain) including small waterfalls that continue to expand the cave system.
Investigation has shown that humans have used these caves for centuries for shelter, but in the last 100 or so years some of the Caves have been turned into Hindu temples. Access to the Cathedral Cave (with 272 steps leading to it) is free and it gets the most visitors. Several other nearby cave temples have very nominal entrance fees. We paid 2 RM for parking in the vast lot out front.
However, the Dark Cave may be more interesting to the Earthcacher then the temples which have seen "improvements" to become places of worship. The guided tours present a great opportunity to learn more about limestone caves. Protected by Malaysian Nature Society, Dark Cave consists of over 2 km of undeveloped cave system. A guide is required to protect the caves from visitors damaging them, and of course to educate visitors in the geology of the caves. Tours include all the gear you need, but remember you are going underground so dress appropriately for the lower temp and rougher conditions. A 30 minute tour can be arranged on the spot, or one can prearrange a 2-3 hour tour that includes creeping, climbing, sliding and wading. www.darkcave.com.my for more details.
Batu Caves include cave pearls, flowstone, stone fountains, and cave straw - all formations caused by water's action on limestone. There is also several hundred animal and bird species found in Batu Caves, including several found no where else in the world. The monkeys, encouraged by tourists, will be the most obvious inhabitants of this ecosystem.
The location of these limestone caves is so close to the equator (they claim these are the most southern caves in the northern hemisphere) gives the cave system an unusual tropical environment inside and out unlike many limestone cave systems in colder climes. Frequent rainstorms in the area provide plenty of water to carve the caves, perhaps forming Batu faster and larger then caves in drier areas.
Enjoy your visit and we hope you learn some interesting things about the geology of Batu Caves as you explore and do this Earthcache.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum