雪玉洞

Xueyu Cave - Snow Jade Cave - Fengdu Xueyu Cave


Useful Information

Location: Longhe River Valley, Fengdu, Chongqing.
(29.782556, 107.792530)
Open: All year daily 8-17.
[2021]
Fee: Adults CNY 70.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=1,644 m, T=16-17°C.
Guided tours: L=1,166 m.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Xueyu Cave, Fengdu, Chongqing, Tel: +86-, Fax: +86-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1997 discovered by Wang Chengyun.
2003 opened to the public.
MAR-2005 visited by Professor Elery Hamilton-Smith.
OCT-2005 rated as "China's Most Beautiful Cave" by the "China National Geographic".
2007 water level of Three Gorges dam reaches cave.

Description

As often in China the name 雪玉洞 (Xueyu Cave, Snow Jade Cave) is a rather baroque description of the cave. The limestone is very pure, and as a result the speleothems in this cave are either snow-white or transparent, almost like glas. They are growing very fast at about 33 mm per 100 years. The cave is also called Fengdu Xueyu Cave, to distinguish it from other Xueyu Caves. It is located at the banks of the Yangtze River 170 km downstream from Chongqing city. The Three Gorges dam caused the rise of the water level, and since 2007 the water level is high enough, the cave is now accessible by boat.

The cave is the location of the first Chinese cave laboratory, installed by the Union of Speleology of the Geological Society of China.

The cave was discovered in 1997 Chinese New Year holiday by Wang Chengyun, a retired government official. He began to explore it with some friends. After two weeks they reported it to the local government and Professor Zhu Xuewen continued the exploration officially.

Like always, the Chinese descriptions are weird, either a cause of laughter or frustration. In this case there is the funny statement that the cave is "1,644 m long, of which 1,161 m have been explored". This sentence is even repeated on the wikipedia page without any comment. It actually says: we did not measure how log it is, but if we had, it would be 1,161 m long. Wow, that length was determined by a psychic! According to another website the cave is 1,022 miles long with a tourist route over 725 miles.

The pure white speleothems had a quite beneficial effect, definitely unintended, probably regretted. The light inside the cave is mostly white! That's one of very few chinese caves which is not lighted like a discotheque. The point is simply, white speleothems are red under red light, so are not white speleothems. In other words, the unique feature of the cave would be invisible under coloured light.