Tafkos Cave

In the Depths of the Earth

Over 3,500 caves have been recorded on Crete since 1962, when the late eminent Eleftherios Platakis founded the local department of the Hellenic Speleological Society. Of those 3,500 caves only 850 have been explored.

However, during the last twenty years, the Cretan speleologists have been very active and fortunate at the same time.

In particular, they have delved into the deepest cave of Greece, «Tafkos at Petradolakia»; a chasm as deep as 475 meters with a subterranean river bed.

The exploration of the cave required a total of 22 descents and copious, to say the least, negotiations through ice-cold waters and treacherous foot-holds.

In the Depths of the EarthAt a depth of 380 meters the daring speleologists came across a lake which they had to swim across.

What excites the imagination in such deep enclosures, besides the decorative effects of stalactites and stalagmites are the animal and vegetation life. Numerous questions are raised easily, but answers are sparse and dubious. This is the case, for example, with the animal fossils found inside the bowels of Crete.

Occasionally, speleologist have unearthed fossils of animal bones identified as belonging to dwarf and giant deer over 10,000 years old, hippopotamus, and dwarf elephants, whales and rare tortoises.

However, speleological activity has a more practical side.

This is the collection of information concerning the flow of subterranean waters (aquifers). Such information is very useful, considering the increased need for water resources on the island.

from STIGMES Magazine