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Cuevas de Arta can be reached along the first turning off the main coastal road ( Pm404) south of Capdepera. They are regarded as one of Mallorca's wonders and are said to have inspired Jules Verne to write "Journey to the centre of the Earth".
Hidden inside stones, rocks and mountains are hollows or crevices of varying sizes. Even in the most compact minerals, minute cavities, the product of diverse circumstances, are visible to the naked eye. In the mountains it is not unusual to find these hollows of assorted shapes and sizes, some of which are completely closed off while others have openings to the outside world.
The origin of these concavities can be found in the following phenomena: 1. Sudden dislocations of the earth. 2.The constant action of groundwater. The formation of mountain ranges during the different geological periods and earthquakes are two of the main causes of the formation of caves.
Groundwater flowing along impermeable beds slowly undermines the upper clay layers until they eventually collapse, leaving a space covered by other calcareous or tufaceous layers that are sustained by their arched forms. The formation of caves is observed in almost all types of known terrain but where they are most abundant is in calcareous rocks, where they acquire gigantic proportions and take on extraordinary forms. If caves do not have an outside opening, water penetrates their walls producing the same effects.
Once the cave has been formed as a result of either of the phenomena mentioned, water circulating above the cave, containing calcium bicarbonate and smaller amounts of magnesium, filters slowly through small fissures giving rise to the following features: when a drop of water appears on the roof of the cave, it leaves a deposit – as a result of excess carbonic acid being released – of the calcareous material that it carried in solution, which is the material from which a stalactite is slowly formed. When the drop falls to the ground it still contains some calcium bicarbonate, which is deposited on the cave floor to form the stalagmite.
After many years these two formations may eventually come to meet and form a solid column, which will often have a bizarre, fantastical shape.
The guided tour comes with special effects and the various chambers are given Dantesque names - Hell, Purgatory, Paradise. The descent into Hell is swifty followed by a son et lumiere display. Stalactites point down from the mouldy roof like daggers, somehow defying gravity.
One of the chambers is as large as the nave of Palma Cathedral, and the Queen of Pillars, a stalagmite 22m tall, could almost be a Gothic column. It is growing upwards at the rate of 2cm every 100 years, in another 5,000 years or so it will be joined to the ceiling.
In order to log this Earthcache, you need to perform 2 tasks.
1. At the waypoint N39.39.354 E 003 27.035 there is a road sign. (See pic) Above the sign are many different colours in the rock face. Email via our profile the colours you can see above the road sign.
2. Email also what causes the red colour in the rocks.
Please take a photo of your Gps at the exit to the caves at the bottom of the impressive staircase, either of the staircase or out towards the sea(Optional!)
Please log at the same time as you send the answers via email. You do not need to wait for log permission prior to logging a "Found", but we will contact anyone whose answers are not correct.
Apologies that this is only in English at this time.
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum