Cavers Create Virtual Tour of Portugal’s Algar das Gralhas VII Cave

August 25, 2013 / Portugal, Europe
The beginning of the virtual tour inside Portugal's threatened Algar das Gralhas VII cave.

The beginning of the virtual tour inside Portugal’s threatened Algar das Gralhas VII cave. Photo via CEAE-LPN

To help raise awareness of a threatened cave, Portuguese cavers have created a virtual tour.

The cave, Algar das Gralhas VII, is located in an endangered karst area in Portugal’s Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park (PNSAC).

At 121 meters (397 feet) deep and just 2 meters (6.5 feet) short of 1 kilometer long, Algar das Gralhas VII contains a diverse array speleothems, passages, pits, and lakes, making it a unique and nationally significant cave.

However, despite being in the park, the cave is surrounded by quarries. Cavers are concerned that those quarries could soon destroy the cave if they are not stopped.

Unfortunately due to its 71 meter (233 foot) deep vertical entrance, access to Algar das Gralhas VII is limited to only cavers and the rest of the world is not aware of the beauty inside.

In order to increase its visibility, members of CEAE-LPN with the participation of four other caving clubs: GEM, AESDA, NEL and AES, worked to create a virtual tour.

Working between December 2012 and June 2013, teams carried out photography, topography, exploration and geology trips in the cave to record all the data necessary to bring the cave to light.

Their efforts netted the teams wins in both the ‘Interactive Presentation’ and ‘Best of show’ awards in the Cartography Salon at the recent 16th International Congress of Speleology held this summer in the Czech Republic.

View the finished Algar das Gralhas VII Virtual Tour.

Algar das Gralhas VII [CEAE-LPN via Paulo Camelo]

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