Sand Cave Joins Naracoorte Caves National Park
South Australia’s Naracoorte Caves National Park is getting an addition. A 200 hectare parcel of land is being added to bring protection to Sand Cave, a 2.5km long cave system that is rich in fossils and contains spectacular limestone formations.
Until now Sand Cave was South East’s largest known cave outside the Naracoorte Caves World Heritage Area. However, it’s size and difficult access has hindered it from being completely explored.
Naracoorte Caves National Park contains 26 caves in 462 hectares of land across three sites. This latest addition expands the area to 660 hectares and consolidates the two northern sections of the park into one single conservation area.
The caves in the park have acted as pitfall traps for animals over the past 500,000 years. Already more than 120 species of vertebrate fossils have already been identified, including marsupial lions and megafauna such as 3 meter (15 foot) tall kangaroos and giant snakes. These fossils helped secure a section of the park on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1994.
Like the other caves in the park, Sand Cave also contains several layers of sediment that contain fossils. Thanks to the efforts of its previous owners, it remains in near pristine condition.
“Sand Cave is unique to the region, with features that are not seen in other caves nearby, including a large, flat-roofed tunnel and many sand cones. It is vital to protect this cave to allow for future exploration and investigation of its fossil remains.” – Paul Caica, the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
New caves added to iconic South Australian national park [Premier of South Australia]
Photo by Steve Bourne