In 1986, workers in communist Romania were examining the area around a barren plain near theBlack Sea and Bulgarian borderto see if the land could sustain a power plant. But what they wound up finding was unlike anything the world had ever seen.
Since it's discovery, the cave has remained sealed and under tight watch by the Romanian authorities. Less than 100 people have been permitted inside, but this is mostly due to the danger involved with exploring the cave.
Exploring the cave is considerably difficult. To enter the cave you must first lower yourself almost 70 ft. by rope down a narrow tunnel. From then on out the only light is supplied by your flashlight. After the initial descent you must make your way through limestone tunnels filled with noxious gases and little oxygen before reaching acentral cavern containing a lake. If your flashlight went out, or you got lost in the maze of tunnels, it could spell your death.
All of the species play a distinct role within the cave's insular ecosystem. It's a delicate balance of life and death as the leeches prey on worms, and the shrimps and crustaceans become lunch for the spiders and waterscorpions.
It turns out that all life in the Movile Cave is supported by a frothy foam mat that sits atop the underground lake. The mat is said to look like wet tissue paper and is filled with "millions upon millions of bacteria known as 'autotrophs.'"The bacteria get their energy from chemical reactions (chemosynthesis) rather than sunlight (photosynthesis).
Movile is thought to be the only cave on land whose ecosystem is supported in this way.