The Mysterious Discovery of the Thousand-Year-Old Stone Caves in Ninghai

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"The Mysterious Discovery of the Thousand-Year-Old Stone Caves in Ninghai"

In the village at the foot of the mountain in Ninghai, Zhejiang, more than 90% of the houses are built using stone blocks. What's even more surprising is that in November 2008, a group of thousand-year-old stone caves was discovered here, confirming a local legend that had been passed down for decades—that the village was built on top of hollow ground. This discovery attracted the program "Approaching Science" by CCTV to come and explore the site.

Mysterious creatures discovered underwater

Yesterday, when the villagers were pumping water out of the caves, an astonishing scene occurred. In the nearly depleted water, a group of mysterious creatures—a kind of fish with long antennae—appeared. These fish were ferocious and would attack any other fish they encountered.

The entire cave resembles a large conch

In order to uncover the true appearance of the caves, village chief Wu Yunfei led the villagers to pump water out of one of the caves in the quarry. Despite the cave entrance being only about 3 square meters, two water pumps worked for a month before the water level dropped by 40 meters, but it still remained unfathomable. However, the gradually emerging scenery was extremely shocking. The entrance was covered with dense stone steps, extending in a zigzag pattern towards the heart of the earth. Beams of light illuminated parts of the rock formations inside, making the entire cave appear like a huge conch: small entrance but incredibly spacious inside. The cave was tranquil and profound, exuding a damp atmosphere, as if witnessing the passage of a thousand years.

The mystery of the ancient quarry

When did this originate? Why were there traces of human activity? With the caves gradually coming to light, more questions arose. Professor Liu Zhiqing, a renowned cave research scholar and retired professor from the Department of Earth Sciences at Zhejiang University, visited the site to investigate. Professor Liu pointed out that the rock in the caves is typical purple-red coarse conglomeratic tuff, a residue from volcanic eruptions in the Cretaceous period. Therefore, he believed that this was an ancient quarry. Craftsmen only needed to drill holes in the rock, and with a lever, they could easily pry off whole blocks of stone. After drying in the open air for 10 to 15 days, these stones would harden and become usable building materials.

Inside the caves, Professor Liu also discovered ancient quarrying tools such as iron awls and a half-meter-tall candlestick made of crushed stones. Based on these findings, he initially speculated that these caves were from the Ming Dynasty.

The mysterious origin of the strange fish

During the process of pumping water out of the second cave, a group of strange creatures emerged from the water. These creatures were completely yellow, 70 cm in length, weighing 1.6 catties, resembling eels or lampreys, with two antennae about two millimeters long on their heads that would retract when touched, then extend again after a while. They had a bad temper and would aggressively bite any small fish they encountered.

What's puzzling is that the water inside the cave was unusually cold; one's hand couldn't stay in the water for more than a minute without getting frozen. As the water level fell, the temperature dropped even lower. However, these creatures were able to survive in such an environment. Village chief Wu Yunfei found this deeply perplexing.

This series of mysterious discoveries has aroused great curiosity about the thousand-year-old stone caves in Ninghai. Perhaps there are still more mysteries waiting to be unraveled in the future.