Gruta Rei do Mato
The Gruta Rei do Mato (MG-3653) is a cave located at the edge of the BR-040 highway, close to the off ramp to the city of Sete Lagoas, in Minas Gerais, Brazil. From Sete Lagoas the cave can easily be reached by bus, taxi or car. Sete Lagoas is 70 kilometres from Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state.
Its name means "Cave of the Forest King" in Portuguese. This name of the cave is derived from the nickname "Rei do Mato" or "Forest King". According to many tourist guides, the "Rei do Mato" was a fugitive in either the Gruta Rei do Mato or in a cave next to it. According to the authors of Dona Brasil, he lived in a hut near the grotto.
The limestone area north of Belo Horizonte is called the Sete Lagoas Formation. It was there that the Lagoa Santa Karst developed. The area around Sete Lagoas has many cave systems, of which the Gruta Rei do Mato is the most famous. The cave has four large chambers with numerous stalactites, stalagmites and rimstone dams. In the "Rarities Hall" are nearly identical parallel columns, formed by the calcium carbonate crystals of calcite. These columns are more than 20 meters high and 30 centimeters in diameter.
In the nearby Parque da Cascata is a collapsed karst crater which can be recognised by some stalactites that are oriented horizontally as a result of the collapse. In a small cave next to the Gruta Rei do Mato, 4,000 to 6,000-year-old cave paintings were discovered, as well as the skeleton of the Xenorhinotherium bahiense, an extinct animal. A replica of this animal can be found in the cave.
- "Gruta Rei do Mato Cave in Sete Lagoas". Article on DonaBrasil.com. Retrieved 11 February 2007.
- DonaBrasil.com on Gruta Rei do Mato
- Showcaves.com on Gruta Rei do Mato
- Pictures of Gruta Rei do Mato