Rare stalactite, stalagmite cave discovered near Galilee.
(photo credit: SHAI KOREN/NPA)
An unusual ancient stalactite and stalagmite cave, featuring stunning elongated limestone deposits several meters long, was recently discovered in the Galilee region by researchers from the Nature and Parks Authority and the Cave Research Center.
According to the researchers, the cave, whose exact location is not being disclosed to the public to avert injuries or tampering, is thousands of years old.
“It is rather exciting and thrilling, yet unfortunately, it seems at this point that we cannot open [the cave] to the public because of its characteristics and small size,” Shai Koren, director of the Lower Galilee Nature and Parks Authority, said on Wednesday. “We cannot give the exact location because it is dangerous at this time. Additionally, I will note that the stalactites and stalagmites are protected as nature by law and therefore must not be damaged.”
Dr. Inon Shivtiel, of the Cave Research Center, noted that stalactites, which hang from the cave’s ceiling like enormous rock icicles, and stalagmites, the deposited formation on the floor, are the result of water that slowly enters the limestone through small cracks.
Shivtiel said the researchers will continue to document and map the area to prepare a plan for its conservation.
There are over 1,200 documented caves in Israel, although researchers believe thousands more remain undiscovered.
The Sorek (Avshalom) Cave, perhaps the country’s most notable stalactite and stalagmite cavern, is located in a nature reserve between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh on the western slopes of the Judean Hills and is open to the public for tours.