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Koněprusy Caves

Characteristics / Evolution of the Caves

The Koněprusy Caves are karst caverns formed by water passing through water-soluble rocks; in this region, such rocks are primarily limestone. The caves are tens of millions of years old and present the outcome of development since at least the Tertiary Period. The primary vertical cavities formed by thermal waters from deep below the surface were gradually transformed by atmospheric water introduced through the deepening of the river network. Thus, paradoxically, the higher cave floors are older while the lower floors are the most recent areas. The current shape of the cave area is chiefly the result of erosion; in many places, limestone was broken down resulting in an extraordinary amount of sedimentary fills – cave loams and clays. In the course of development, various parts of the caves were flooded with water, filled with deposits and emptied again. It is, however, not the case that there were permanent or continuous underground watercourses flowing through and forming this system of caves.

The levels of the three known cave floors as well as the arrangement and the shapes of the corridors reflect the geological structure of the Golden Horse hill and the texture of limestone. The highest and perhaps the oldest floor, known as the Medieval Money-Forging Workshop, was formed in colourful Suchomasty limestone. The most extensive, central floor of the caves, which features broad corridors and vast chambers, follows a striking interface and a deposit hiatus between the Koněprusy limestone in the subsoil and the Suchomasty limestone in the overburden. The bottom floor is a less extensive area as well; its corridors follow vertical fractures in the massive Koněprusy limestone. All of the cave floors are connected by vertical chimneys and abysses.

Numerous exploratory drills revealed that a large part of the cave system is filled with secondary cave deposits and today’s free spaces are just a fraction of the underground cavities formed in the Golden Horse massif.