Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chal Nakhjir Cave

Chal Nakhjir Cave (غار چال نخجیر) is a rare geological phenomenon located 10 kilometers north of Delijan. Its discovery in 1989 was as a result of an accidental explosion by the local Water Company. This cave belongs to the Cenozoic period and has been formed as a result of tectonic factors and aerobic chemical reactions. It has beautiful decorative stones. The height of this cave in some places reaches over 20 meters and has deep valleys in its divergent paths. It is known for its exceptional white dolomite sediments, covering the floor of the major corridors of the cave. The speleothems are exceptional too, looking like white popcorn. Even regular stalactites and stalagmites have this pure white cover of calcite and aragonite crystals.  

The reflection of light through prism of crystals and calcite stones, beside variable hangings from ceiling and spongy crystalic covering of the walls and flooring, create an exotic sight. Certain characteristics such as passages, lakes, pools and columns have presented a special beauty to this cave. It is said that there is a pool of water at the end of this cave, 70 meters below the entrance, with large halls alongside it.  

After the initial 600 meters, the Chal Nakhjir Cave branches into several subterranean passages, of which some 4 kilometers have been explored so far. The passages are estimated to be 8 to 10 kilometers long. Geologists have discovered stones shaped like eagles, deer and pigeons, indicating the cave was inhabited by primitive people in ancient times. Another amazing feature of this cave is its natural ventilation system. Furthermore the entire underground path is completely horizontal. Inside the Cave are many open spaces ranging from 20 to 120 meters wide.  

In 2007, in an inexpert program, construction of an artificially created exit for visitors by contractors was repeatedly intercepted and halted. Ultimately a Judge’s ruling permanently put an end to the construction but not before some irreparable damage to both the interior and exterior of the cave. It was opened to the public in 2010 although there are very few signs in its vicinity indicating its location. Unfortunately it has already witnessed a number of broken crystals.  

Chal Nakhjir Cave was registered as a national natural heritage site in 2001.  


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