Peştera Valea Rea (Eng. approx. Bad Valley Cave) is located in Apuseni Mountains (Western Carpathians), in the North-West of Padiş karstic plateau, near Pietroasele village, Bihor County, at 1300 m altitude.
The karst from the area of Cârligate – Valea Rea is special because of the first poli-genetic endokarst of Romania. Valea Rea cave (21 km long) began its evolution due to post-magmatic hydrothermal substances, associated to the eruptive area of Vlădeasa. These created a mineral hydrothermal paleokarst and a relict hydrothermal karst. As a consequence of the end of post-magmatic activities and of the lifting of the northern Bihor Mountains block during the Pliocen age, the pre-conditions for the formation of a classic endokarst of cold water, which partially re-organised the previous spaces, appear.
The Valea Rea Cave, besides the fact that it is one of the most complex caves of the world, is also Romania's greatest underground mineralogical "museum". Over 37 different minerals described as components of some speleological formations - speleothemes (cave pearls, gyps, quartz, celestit, malachite, rhodochrosite, metatyuyamunit etc.), a lot of these being described for the first time in speleologic environment - place this cave among the World's top 10 caves. It is also the most complex cave system in Romania (developed on about 20 km) including mineralized hydrothermal paleo-karst (including native gold veins), relict hydrothermal but also cold water endokarst. The cave has the greatest vertical underground waterfall of Romania (the Ventilator Fall): 82 m high, 10 m diameter. It is the largest Romanian cave entirely developed in dolomite.
The Valea Rea Cave measures 21 km in length, and after the entrance (only 1 sqm) follows a system of deep ravines up to 120 m, and then continue with the galleries, shafts, vertical chimneys and spacious rooms. Unfortunately, the cave can't be visited since it was declared a scientific reserve. (Infos from Apuseni Natural Park site).
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