PULPI, ALMERIA, Spain (AP) — An extraordinary cave filled with giant, clear crystals is about to be opened to the public for the first time. The cave lies 50 metres below a town in Andalusia, Spain.
Soon visitors will be able to journey down an abandoned mine to see the natural wonder for themselves. It could be the entrance to a fairytale, so unusual is this cave. First discovered by a mineralogical society from Madrid in 1999, the Pulpi Geode is set to open to the public for the first time later this year.
This natural treasure lies in the earth far below the shafts of an abandoned silver mine in Andalucia, Spain. It’s called a geode – a cavity of rock filled with crystals, or minerals. Its discovery is expected to change the fortunes of the small town – Pulpi – that lies above it.
They need to ensure visitors can access the geode safely. People working on the project say the official opening is set for October, but they’re hoping to run a few previews in July.
Visitors will first have to first walk down the long, dusty mineshaft before walking down newly-installed metal staircases which will take them through the vast caverns of the mine which closed in the 1960s. Eventually, they will arrive at the stunning entrance to the geode – an opening in the rock ringed by massive, white crystals.
Geodes are formed over millions of years when a cavity inside a rock fills with liquid.
“There are different ways these geodes can form, different ways of coming about. Generally, there has to be a space and that space gets filled up slowly by some fluid. Generally, it has to get filled up completely by a saline solution, in this case liquids with calcium sulfate, which creates selenite crystals. Then it needs the right amount of time and the right temperature to form but above all, it needs a very long time,” says geologist Francisco Fernandez Amo.
No crystals are the same. Some are smooth and rounded while others are angular, even jagged, and jut out into the centre of the cave.
According to Amo being able to get access to these caves is most unusual.
“In Europe, this is the only geode like this. Globally, there is a geode in the Naica Mine in Mexico which is even bigger but the problem with this geode is that it’s at a depth of more than 200 metres which makes opening it to the public very tricky. This is the largest geode in the world which people can visit.”
The Pulpi Geode already has a reputation for being a remarkable example of this geological formation.