A large stalactite and stalagmite cave was recently discovered in the Jerusalem hills, it was announced today. But the location is being kept secret, so as to ensure the public does not enter before steps have been taken to ascertain how the ancient cavern and its formations can be preserved.
The cave, which was described in initial reports as “huge,” was uncovered during construction work in the region. Officials at the Nature and Parks Authority are now working along with members of the Hebrew University’s Cave Research Unit to investigate and map out the cavern.
The exact location of the cave is being kept secret as officials said they did not want people wandering into it, for their own safety as well as for the sake of preserving the rare geological phenomenon. The same process of secrecy was initially maintained almost 50 years ago, when the renowned Avshalom stalactite cave near Beit Shemesh – was first found.
“The first action we are taking in order to preserve the place is closing off the cave,” Uri Naveh, deputy head of the Nature and Parks Authority’s central district, told Hebrew news site Walla News. “That way we can maintain the humidity and the geological conditions which prevailed in the cave up until now with minimal interference.”
“Stalactites and stalagmites are a natural phenomenon protected by law,” Naveh said. “That is why, at this stage, we will be barring entrance to the cave, other than for the researchers who will be entering to work there.”
Stalactites and stalagmites are created by the slow dripping and depositing of material – often limestone – in underground caves over many thousands of years.
Read more at The Times of Israel.