A stalactite cave. (Photo: Yossi Zamir/Flash90) A stalactite cave. (Photo: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

A unique cave containing magnificent stalactites was unexpectedly discovered near Jerusalem. The findings were amazing. 

A huge, intriguing cave with beautiful stalactite formations was uncovered by chance during the development of a construction project in Jerusalem’s vicinity, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) announced Sunday.

The exact location of the cave was not disclosed, so as to keep anyone from entering potential danger. The NPA is mapping out the cave and examining various options of preserving it and making it accessible to the public.

Formations resemble shelves or sheets of cloth, branches, corals and clusters of grapes, among many other objects. In several still-active areas of the cave, which maintains constant heat and humidity year-round, the stalactites and stalagmites continue to grow slowly.

Stalactites and stalagmites are geological phenomena in which unique, and at times bizarre, rock formations are created, in a process that takes hundreds of thousands of years, as water containing limestone drips down from the ceiling of a cave, freezing and forming on the ground.

Inside a stalactite cave. (Photo: Flash90)

Inside a stalactite cave. (Photo: Flash90)

Waiting to be Impressed

Benny, a member of the local community where the cave was discovered, told Ynet News: “They found the cave next to the road that leads to the new neighborhood that’s being built. I hope they build a national park or some place for visitors to come see this cave. We’re all waiting to go in and be impressed.”

Similar Discoveries

A similar stalactite cave, known as the Soreq Cave, located approximately 12 miles west of Jerusalem, was discovered in 1968 by workers blasting at a nearby quarry. This small cavern contains a wondrously varied world of stalactites and stalagmites. Some formations are at least 300,000 years old and can help scientists track climate changes in Israel’s region over the millennia.

A number of stalactites hanging from the ceiling of the cave are up to four meters long, and in some cases they fuse with stalagmites growing from the floor. They can range from a few millimeters to a several meters in diameter.

Another cave was uncovered during building excavations a year ago near Tsofim. The cave is estimated to be a million years old.

Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff writer, United with Israel