The cave system of Kap-Kutan or more precisely Cupp-Coutunn is despite
its somewhat remote location one of the few caves mentioned in classic
literature. The historian DIODORUS described the caves as early as 49 B.C.
in his book 'Biblioteca Historica' ! Knowledge of the caves got lost for
many centuries until the early 1950, when a russian geologists visited
them and made a proposal for mining its wealth of banded onyx as ornamental
stone. Mining started in the late 50s and continued for 20 years, before
it was stopped by a growing nature conservation movement.
The geology of the cave system is rather complex. A thick limestone
sucession of upper jurassic age was intruded by volcanic rocks and granites
in later times. These intrusions brought along hot sulphuric solutions,
which formed the caves and the magnificient speleothems.
Against the well known extraordinary beauty of Lechuguilla cave
the Kap - Kutan system compares at least equal - if not even more spectacular
- to its american counterpiece.
Kap-Kutan is another example of cave formation by sulphuric acid solutions,
resulting in a very long cave system with spectacular and sometimes very
large decoration made up of different minerals such as aragonite, calcite,
hydromagnesite and gypsum. The aragonite and gypsum form large chandeliers
and crystal aggregates which may reach a length of 4 meter and more. Though
they are generally not single crystals, individual crystals may easily
reach a size of more than one meter.
Apart from the beautiful aragonite and
gypsum speleothems in the cave system there appear to occur also
large calcite crystals with a dimension of up to 2 m as freely crystallized
crystals on some cave walls.
The Kap Kutan cave system is definitely one of the most remarkable
cave system in the world, displaying a vast and rich variety of remarkable
speleothem decoration and consequently needs strict protection.