A cave bursting with giant, clear crystals will stun visitors when it opens to the public for the first time later this year.
Visitors and tourists will be able to travel down the abandoned silver mine in Andalucia in Spain to experience the natural wonders for themselves.
Located 164 feet (50 meters) below Pulpi, a small Spanish town, this natural treasure could be the entrance to a fairytale world.
This extraordinary cave is a giant geode, meaning it is a hollow cavity of rock lined with crystals, or minerals—formed over millions of years.
Pulpi Geode was first discovered by a mineralogical society from Madrid in 1999.
The cave’s discovery will change the fortunes of the arid, coastal town of Pulpi, with a population of about 9,000 residents.
Project workers said the official opening is in October, but they hope to have a few previews in July.
To access the cave, visitors will have to first go down the long, dusty mineshaft. Then they need to walk down a newly installed metal staircases through the vast caverns of the mine abandoned in the 1960s.
Then they will arrive at the stunning entrance to the geode opening in the rock, packed with massive, white crystals. The geode crammed full with gypsum prisms has been placed under police guard to stop souvenir hunters and collectors from stealing the extraordinary natural wonder.
The hollow cavity of the geode measures 26 feet (8 meters) long, 6 feet (1.8 meters) wide, and about 6 feet high. Every inch of its surface is lined with dazzling, transparent crystals.
Geologist Francisco Fernandez Amo said that there are different ways geodes can form. “There has to be a space and that space gets filled up slowly and completely by a saline solution,” said Amo.
Amo explained the Pulpi Geode is filled with liquid calcium sulfate that 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,” Amo said.
Inside the geode, no crystals look alike. Some are smooth and rounded; others are angular, jagged, and jut out into the center of the cave.
The Pulpi Geode is the largest cavity in the world which people can visit, said Amo. It is extraordinary because of the gigantic size of the selenite crystals, some of them measuring more than 3 feet.
It “feels like something out of a Jules Verne film rather than reality and also the purity of the crystals,” said Amo.
“You can clearly see their transparency, almost entirely calcium sulfate and no impurities, which gives them incredible transparency,” Amo continued.
Javier Garcia-Guinea, geologist from the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) who first announced the discovery, estimated that about 10 people could sit inside the geode.
However, to protect the crystal formations, visitors will not be able to go right inside the geode. They will be able to stand at the entrance and poke their heads inside the opening to gaze in wonder at the stunning clear selenite crystals within.
Preparing the mine to receive visitors has been a mammoth job. Head of works Antonio Sanchez stated that the mine was buried in three feet (or one meter) of rubble. “So we’ve removed 600 tons of rock, rubble, and earth,” said Sanchez.
The project workers believe that Pulpi Geode will help draw visitors and bring prominence to the small town.