Bear Cave

DESCRIPTION AND PLAN OF THE CAVE
 Bear Cave in Kletno  is situated within the massif of Śnieżnik Kłodzki, on the right slope of the Valley of Kleśnica stream, in a block of marbles within the mountain Stroma (1,166.80 meters below sea level).
 
 The corridors of the cave  cave are situated horizontally, at three levels joined by chimneys. The lowest and mid parts are the best developed ones.  
  • The lowest parts have been presented to the public in a film about the Bear Cave made in 2003. Till that time we could only see the photos from the lowest parts of the Cave taken by the speleologic expeditions. In the film sector you will find the description of the expedition to the lowest parts of the Cave.

  • The mid parts,which are partly opened for tourists, can be admired while taking the tourist route the tourist route .

  • The upper parts have been not entirely explored yet. They are located under the Palace Halls. Water coming from this part created impressive calcite dripstones (cascades in the Cascade Side; “stone milk” over the entrance to the Water Corridor).

 Two artificial entrances to the cave  are at 793 m above sea level and 800 m above sea level, approximately 10-15 m over the bottom of the Valley of Kleśnica.

  • First entrance was constructed as a part of the entrance hall - the Bear Cave has been discovered through this very hole.

  • The second hole is closed by thermal sluice which is protecting the Cave’s microclimate. This is also the last point of the tourist route and the exit from the Bear Cave.

 The total length of the corridors of the Bear Cave  is over 2.5 km. The difference between the highest and the lowest point is 60 m. This is the biggest cave of the Sudetes and one of the deepest caves in Poland (deeper caves can be found in Poland within the Tatras).  

Plan of the Mid Parts
Plan of the Mid Parts

 The unique microclimate of the cave  (constant temperature of 6°C, small annual amplitude, air humidity almost 100%, small exchange of air) enables the creation of magnificent dripstones, which is the most popular feature of the Bear Cave. Dripstones are formed from water coming from the surface of Stroma mountain. This water contains a lot of minerals CaCO3 (Ca+2 + Mg+2) and it has an alkaline reaction of pH = 8. In such water the level of carbonates is exceeded and the excess is precipitated in the form of crystal calcite. Such features are gained in the surface coat of marbles between the surface of the slope and the Cave’s corridor. The additional factor is the vaporization process in the Cave.

Among the dripstones, which can be found in he Cave, we can distinguish the following:

  • Stalactites

    Stalactites
    - various forms resembling the icicles
  • Macaroni

    Macaroni
    - original form of stalactite resembling a pipe
  • Curtains

    Curtains
    – forms made of the calcite milk in the shape of flat, thin plane and thin sheets
  • Coats

    Coats
    - thick dripstones on walls and at the bottom
  • Ribs and cascades

    Ribs and cascades
    - various forms of dripstone coats covering one another
  • Rice fields

    Rice fields
    - dripstones at the bottom of the Cave, resembling rice fields from a bird’s eye-view
  • Wooly dripstones

    Wooly dripstones
    – resembling the wool
  • Dead basins

    Dead basins
    - big dripstones at the bottom of the Cave resembling bowls
  • Stalagmites

    Stalagmites
    - formed at the bottom of the cave opposite the stalactites (created by the water dripping from the stalactite)
  • Stalagnaty (kolumny naciekowe)

    Stalagnates (dripstone columns)
    – a stalactite and a stalagmite joined together
  • Pizolites

    Pizolites
    – spherical dripstones if they are smooth enough are called the cave pearls
  • Fungus dripstones

    Fungus dripstones
    - a-gravity dripstones formed perpendicularly to the bottom that they erect from. They are formed of calcite which is precipitated from the water leaking through the narrow holes in the bottom or from the drops. They are usually in a form of balls seated on a narrow base. Seldom do they have more than 20 mm.
  • Helictites

    Helictites
    - crystal, irregular, bushy deposits growing in different directions, often on stalactites, coats, walls and ceilings.
  • Crystal clusters of calcite

    Crystal clusters of calcite
    – crystals cumulated on the walls in the shape of a brush. They grow over 10 cm. They are usually colorless or honey color of various intensiveness.

nocek duży

 Fauna   is an inseparable component of the cave:

We can find here many different debris of species which used to live there. However, the Bear Cave is still alive, building its dripstones and it is the home of many species. We can meet here the bats: different species of myotis (Myotis myotis, Myotis daubentoni), barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus), brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus). There have also been found the traces of the marten and the shrew.

Myotis myotis

 

We can also find here some invertebrates mainly the Niphargus tatrensis. It is the relic of the Tertiary sea fauna. It is of the length of 1.5 cm. Other invertebrates are: small white wingless insects, trichoptera, moths, caterpillars, spiders. The biotope of the cave is not very rich, but this is the result of cutting off the entrance to the surface. Species could only get there through the gaps in a rock. The conditions here are not very fortunate as well for the development of the species, mainly due to the lack of light. Such deficiency eliminates any plants’ growing in the Cave.

studniczek
Niphargus tatrensis
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© MARIUSZ BURSZTA 2003-2013