In Hungary, a mechanic, Ferenc Szolga has discovered the country's second deepest cave below the Istimer Plateau in the Bakony Mountains.
In Hungary, a mechanic, Ferenc Szolga has discovered the country's second deepest cave below the Istimer Plateau in the Bakony Mountains. His find was all the more remarkable, as geologists have always insisted the mountains contained no caves.
SYNOPSIS: It took two years of research and careful study of maps of the area for Szolga to assemble the evidence that led him to the entrance to the great underground cavern. To reach the cave itself from there the mechanic and his team, which included teachers and students, had to descend 210 metres (688 feet) into the mountain. The discovery is so new, that speleologists have not had time to chart the route completely, but it's already clear the main "hall" of the complex of linked caverns is more than a kilometre long. Although the geological evidence appeared strongly against such a massive underground cave, there is a pronounced fault line running nearby, which Szolga argued could have been responsible for the cave's formation.
In spite of the camp, and the limestone that makes up most of the Bakony Mountains, the caves do not abound in giant stalactites, which have turned other European caves into popular tourist attractions. Its inaccessibility could also keep all but the most intrepid visits away. But the cave, which has already been named "Alba Regina", is not without its awesome beauty. There are some limestone formations, and the lights of the explorers have revealed rocks of many different colours.
Below the ground, its is difficult to imagine the placid grazing and farming which is carried on over most of the lower slopes of the mountain. But deep underground, there are clues to the other great contribution the area makes to Hungary's economy. For the area is rich in deposits of lignite, bauxite and manganese. Their crystals contribute to the beauty of the cave.
These discoveries, particularly of crystalline metals, is of particular interest to Szolga. For besides his part-time occupation of cave exploration, he works in one of the biggest bauxite mines in the area. His discovery has already assured him a place in the geological record books of his country.