Abukuma-do

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Abukuma-do
Flowstones and Mushroom Rocks inside Abukuma-do Cave.JPG
The Takine Palace
Location Honshū, Japan
Nearest city Tamura-shi, Fukushima Prefecture
Coordinates 37°20′41″N 140°40′24″E / 37.344717°N 140.673472°E / 37.344717; 140.673472Coordinates: 37°20′41″N 140°40′24″E / 37.344717°N 140.673472°E / 37.344717; 140.673472
Visitors 10,085,000 (in 1988)

Abukuma-do (阿武隈洞 - Abukuma Cave) is a limestone cave located in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The cave was discovered on August 15, 1969, northeast of the city of Tamura and was originally named Kamayama Shonyu-do (釜山鍾乳洞). It was designated a natural heritage of the town on February 7, 1971 and renamed Abukuma-do on June 1, 1973.[1] Visitors can traverse a 600-metre-long path inside the cave as well as a 120-metre-long exploration course to view the stalactites and stalagmites. Each stalactite has taken more than eighty million years to form.[2] Beyond the public areas lie about 2,500 metres of cave that are not open to the public. Nearby Abukuma Cave is the smaller Irimizu Shonyu-do (入水鍾乳洞 - Irimizu Limestone Cave), discovered in 1927. Irimizu Limestone Cave was designated a National Natural Treasure on December 28, 1934.[3] The temperature inside Abukuma-do is around 15 °C and the humidity is above 90%.

Boxwork[edit]

Boxwork inside Abukuma-do

A notable feature of Abukuma-do is the existence of boxwork, a rare cave formation composed of thin blades of the mineral calcite that project from cave walls and ceilings, forming a honeycomb or box-like pattern. Boxwork can also be found in Shimukugama in Okinawa and Sugawatari-do (氷渡洞 - Ice Cross Cave) in Iwate Prefecture, but because Abukuma-do is currently the only limestone cave in Japan open to tourists, it is subsequently the only cave in Japan in which you can see boxwork.

Christmas Tree and Silver Frost[edit]

The Silver Frost

The Christmas Tree and the Silver Frost are two of the most distinctive Speleothem inside Abukuma-do. The Christmas Tree is a stalagmite and The Silver Frost meets dripstones on the roof of the cave resulting in an impressive column. Both represent a featured stop along the 600 meter course inside the cave. According to the Abukuma Caves Management Office, The Christmas Tree, at over two metres high,[4] is said to be the largest stalagmite in the East.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Suzuki K., page 17.
  2. ^ Takeda T.:Hello! Fukushima, page 116.
  3. ^ Takeda T.:Fukushima - Today & Tomorrow, page 50.
  4. ^ Suzuki K., page 31.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

The Dragon Palace
  • Takeda, Toru; Hishinuma, Tomio; Kamieda, Kinuyo; Dale, Leigh; Oguma, Chiyoichi (August 10, 1988), Hello! Fukushima - International Exchange Guide Book (1988 ed.), Fukushima City: Fukushima Mimpo Press 
  • Takeda, Toru; Hishinuma, Tomio; Oguma, Chiyoichi; Takiguchi, R. (July 7, 2001), Fukushima - Today & Tomorrow, Aizu-Wakamatsu City: Rekishi Shunju Publishing Co., ISBN 4-89757-432-3 
  • Suzuki, Katsuji (1993), Abukuma Cave, Irimizu Limestone Cave, Takine Town: Suzuya 

External links[edit]