Photo : Gérard Delorme
It is the
quality of concretion which
makes this cave so interesting. ‘Concretion’ is the term used to
describe the mineral deposits which form on the cave walls when the
calcite present in water crystallizes.
When water drips onto the cave ceiling it leaves behind a little of
its soluble calcite which, over time, develops downward-pointing
calcite crystals in more or less cylindrical forms, known as
An equivalent deposit develops on the cave floor when a droplet of
water falls there forming, little by little,
Obviously, depending on the amount of water, the shape of the
underground tunnels, and a number of other factors, the concretions
adopt a wide variety of shapes :
columns, drapery etc.
The most unusual and
the rarest form of calcite concretions are known as
; these are thin, twisted fingers which bend in all directions seeming
to defy the law of gravity. This particularly stunning effect is only
seen in relatively few caves with the appropriate conditions: the
porosity of the limestone, the quantity of water dripping down the
cave walls, the micro-climatic conditions of the cave etc.
The «Maxange Caves » exhibit precisely this type of eccentric
concretion in bunches lining the walls and ceiling of the caves over
quite a distance. Their profusion, elegance and sparkling purity are
extremely impressive. The
Maxange Caves present a genuine geode.