February - 2019

Mulu Caves 2011 expedition has arrived in the field.  The advance team of nine arrived in Miri on 14th February and split into two groups.  One group remained in Miri to purchase supplies and call on our partners in the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, and the other group headed straight up to Gunung  Mulu National Park. 

Kevin Dixon and laser scanner set up in Deer Cave. Photo Robbie Shone

The first objective for this year’s expedition is to make a 3D laser scan of Sarawak Chamber – the largest underground chamber in the world.  The laser scan is expected to take four full days by a team of three working around the clock from a camp in the approach passage to the chamber.  Field trials of the scanner needed to be carried out before the team committed to the camp. Deer Cave seemed the most appropriate venue as the size and conditions would be similar to the great chamber.  Over two days these trials have been successfully carried out with the scanner reaching distances in excess of 300m.  If time allows a full 3D model will also be made of Deer Cave as the trials have already suggested that the passage dimensions are larger than first thought.  A scan of the large southern section has taken 15 million individual measurements and revealed roof heights in excess of 160m and an aven over 270m high. 

Plans to make a panoramic photograph the chamber are also going well.  Testing the equipment in Deer Cave has produced a stunning version of the classic shot. Over the next few days the team will move up to Camp 1 and Sarawak Chamber.