El Soplao is a cave located in the municipalities of Rionansa, Valdáliga and Herrerías in Cantabria (Spain). It is considered a single cavity worldwide for the quality and quantity of geological formations (speleothems) that houses in its 17 miles in length, although only 6 are open to the public. In it are rare formations as helíctitas (estatalactitas eccentric defying gravity) and “draperies” (sheets or translucent banners hanging from the ceiling). Its formation dates back to the Mesozoic, in particular the Cretaceous period 240 million years ago. Access to the cave in the Sierra Soplao Arnero at 540 meters.
The cave was accidentally discovered during the drilling mining subsequently being exploited for the extraction of minerals (the tour is accessible only to two of the eight galleries). During its operation, many local families were supported with the income they got from the mining, collated with the livestock. After decades of neglect, the speleology, and in particular the Cantabria University Speleologing Club since 1975, he discovered his true geological value. On July 1, 2005 the Government of Cantabria opened to the public and broadcast internationally, after conditioning inside and around for tourism and prohibit any activity the club discoverer. The Soplao is part of the 6,500 underground caves of Cantabria, without doubt, are a paradise for caving.
The cavity is located in the Sierra de Arnero, in turn framed by the Sierra del Escudo de Cabuérniga, between the towns of Rionansa, Herrerías and Valdáliga and around San Vicente de la Barquera. The Sierra de Arnero runs parallel to theCantabrian Sea, with a maximum altitude of 682 meters. To access the cave you can use the Cantabrian motorway.
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