Leviathan Cave

Leviathan Cave, also known as the Grotte de Leviathan,[1] is a lava tube in eastern Kenya first discovered in 1975.[2] Although it has been segmented by the movement of tectonic plates, the overall length of the lava tube spans a distance of 11.5 km.[3] It is the longest and deepest known lava tube in Africa.[2]

Leviathan Cave is located in the Chyulu Hills National Park at the edge of the Nyiri Desert, which is found northwest of Tsavo West National Park.[3][4]

In the 1980s, Leviathan Cave was the third-longest known lava tube in the world.[5] However, modern surveys have found newer, longer tubes, and have located longer passages of known tubes. Leviathan Cave is still the longest tube in Africa, but is only the 11th-longest lava tube in the world.[6]


Leviathan Cave is divided into two sections, the Upper Leviathan and the Lower Leviathan. The Upper Leviathan is 9,152 m long, with a depth of 408 m.[5] The Lower Leviathan is 2,071 m long, with a depth of 70 m.[5] These segments are considered separately when ranking the length of the Leviathan, per international standard.[5]

Like all lava tubes, Leviathan Cave was formed by hot lava flowing beneath a cooled crust.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "World Cave List". Sop.inria.fr. 15 August 1997. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b Forti; Galli; Rossi (July 2004). "Minerogenesis of Volcanic Caves of Kenya". International Journal of Speleology. 32: 3–18. Retrieved 7 Apr 2017.
  3. ^ a b Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 217. ISBN 0-89577-087-3.
  4. ^ Tom Parkinson; Matt Phillips; Will Gourlay (2006). Kenya. Lonely Planet. pp. 140–. ISBN 978-1-74059-743-2. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d Crawford, R.L. (1983). "The World's Longest Lava Tube Caves" (PDF). National Speleological Society : Geo2 - Newsletter of the Section of Cave Geology and Geography. Vol 10 (2) (Win 1982).
  6. ^ Gulden, Bob (March 21, 2017). "World's Longest Lava Tubes". Caver Bob. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  7. ^ Susan Rigby (1 October 1993). Caves. Troll Associates. ISBN 978-0-8167-2750-6. Retrieved 30 July 2012.