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The elephant cave

The submarine Cave of Elephants is located in Drepano area of Akrotiri, in Chania prefecture and out of Souda Bay

A cavern of stunning beauty was the last home of a group of rare elephants that lived in Vamos, thousands of years ago. When the sea level rose, an unsurpassable wall of water blocked the access to this stunning natural monument, protecting it from man’s destructive interference.

A series of incredible coincidences and games of fate had to happen for the cave to be discovered and explored, in year 2000. It was accidentally discovered by a local fisher during underwater fishing.

Stunning combinations of white and red stalagmites and stalactites cast a spell to every diver been there. It was a unique discovery, as the laboratory and the scientific announcements that followed, have proved. The elephant of the cave had characteristics that have not been found anywhere else. And so scientist gave it the name “Elephas Chaniensis”.

After detailed search, all of the bones that were not stuck to the caver’s floor were taken to department of Historic Geology and Paleontology of the University of Athens. As it was proven the fossils bones belonged to elephants and deer.  Taking under consideration the data collected, the age of the Cretan Elephant estimate somewhere between 50.000 and 60.000 years  old.

DESCRIPTION

The caverns entrance is 3,5 to 10 metres deep and is about 9 metres wide. Dark and mysterious, it is only a few metres away from the – vertical at this point- seashore.

THE CEILING

Emerges from the water, 40 metres away from the caver’s entrance. It’s highest point is 13 metres above the surface.

THE STATIGRAPHY

The upper layer consists mostly of dwarf deer and micro mammals. In the underlying layers we find Elephas Chaniensis and normal deer bones. Two molars attached to the cave floor, 3m below water surface

THE BOTTOM

Its entire surface is covered by water. The depth ranges from a few centimetres to 4m.

THE DIMENSIONS

The main cave chamber is 120m long and its average width is 25m. The caves overall length is 160m long.

THE COLOR RED

Gorgeous white and red formations decorate the ceiling and floor.

The red stalagmites owe their colour to the amount of aluminium and iron oxide contained in the caverns stratum.

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