"Leopard spots" in Lokvarka Cave

Prospekt Gea, Intresting facts

Photo 1. A vermiculation resembling leopard spots on a wall in Lokvarka Cave (Photo from the archives of P.I. “Priroda”)

“Leopard spots” in Lokvarka Cave

Lokvarka Cave is adorned with a multitude of diverse cave formations and some parts of the cave display different colours. Some are snow-white, others are reddish, but there are also parts that are dark grey or even black in colour. This colouration derives from the different minerals prevailing in the rock substrate.

Among the more interesting cave formations are clay vermiculations visible on some rocks. In speleological circles, the vermiculation in Photo 2 is called leopard spots because it resembles the round spots on a leopard’s skin.

Different vermiculation patterns can be found in other caves in Gorski Kotar and elsewhere. According to their shape, these vermiculations can be hieroglyphic vermiculations (with irregular shapes) or tiger-skin vermiculations (parallel stripes). Some types of vermiculations have a branched pattern. For many years now there has been an ongoing debate about the origin of vermiculations. It is generally agreed, however, that vermiculations are formed by the uneven evaporation of a liquid coating of fine-grained material. Some researchers underline the importance of microorganisms in the formation of vermiculations.

We invite you to visit Lokvarka Cave, a show cave open to the public: http://lokvarka.hr/spilja-lokvarka

M. R.