Travel: Gruta da Moedas

I woke up late. AGAIN. Hard to know whether it’s a result of terrible jet lag or sleep debt. My dear friend is surprisingly merciful (or not) in letting me sleep in. Nonetheless, we managed to fill today with a variety of sights, which range from natural and subterranean geologic formations to above ground man-made structures.

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Our first destination for the day, post-lunch (may I add) was the Cave of Coins (Grutas da Moedas); named as such due to the legend that robbers meant to dispose of the victim by tossing his body down the shaft, but accidentally left the coin pouch attached to his belt, it is said that the coins are still scattered about the cave. Two hunters chasing after a fox accidentally stumbled upon this cave in 1971. It runs about 45 m deep and dates from the mid Jurassic Period. Each room has a descriptive name that requires a sprinkling of imagination to understand how it received its title.

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It is not hard to see the natural beauty that is hidden below ground. The motion of water blended with stone allowed for the progression of peaks downwards from the cavern top as well as upwards from the floor. These are named stalactites and stalagmites respectively. They extend a mere few inches every hundreds of years depending on the abundance of natural minerals within the caves. Occasionally, a stalactite and stalagmite will meet forming a column in the middle.

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The Moeda caves have a secret; at the right location, a simple beam of light will show the shimmering crystalline surface on the rock face. This requires just the right amount of minerals to be present, to allow for the calcite to form.

The most enjoyable part of my visit was trying to understand what formation inspired the room’s title. What do you think these rooms were called?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Conceitos básicos sobre Câmbio | WeBlank

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