Saint-Léonard underground lake

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Saint-Léonard underground lake
Lac souterrain de Saint-Léonard
St Leonard lake.jpg
Location Saint-Léonard, Valais
Coordinates 46°15′23″N 7°25′32″E / 46.25639°N 7.42556°E / 46.25639; 7.42556Coordinates: 46°15′23″N 7°25′32″E / 46.25639°N 7.42556°E / 46.25639; 7.42556
Type underground lake
Basin countries Switzerland
Max. length 260 m (850 ft)
Max. width 29 m (95 ft)
Surface area 6,000 m2 (65,000 sq ft)
Average depth 4 m (13 ft)
Max. depth 13 m (43 ft)
Surface elevation 509 m (1,670 ft)

Saint-Léonard underground lake (French Lac souterrain de Saint-Léonard) is located at Saint Léonard in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. It is formed where a bed of Triassic gypsum, emplaced within impervious Carboniferous strata, has been dissolved by groundwater.[1] With a length of 300 and a width of 20 m it is the largest underground lake in Europe. It was discovered in 1943 by Jean-Jacques Pittard. Prior to 1946 the water-level was much higher, but an earthquake with a force of 5.6 on the Richter-scale opened additional fissures in the cave on January 25, 1946 made it more readily navigable. Its water is constantly at 11 °C (52 °F). The lake is accessible by the public since 1949. Visits are organized daily from March 15 to November 1, from 9 am to 5 pm. The visit is about half an hour long, and is held in English, French, German and Italian. Ticket-prices are 10 CHF for adults and 5 CHF for children.

Access to the lake was closed from 2000 to June 2003, whilst the stability of the site was improved by the addition of more than 5000 bolts driven into the ceiling.


  1. ^ "Le Lac Souterrain". Lac Souterrain de St-Léonard. Retrieved 8 February 2017. 

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