Significant Lava Cave Discovered in Auckland, New Zealand

Over the past year, Extreme Pursuit has undertaken far-reaching exploration efforts of the Auckland Volcanic Field in New Zealand to find new and undocumented lava caves. These efforts have yielded the discovery of a new and significant lava cave – mostly due to its size, length and geological features and minerals which are not found elsewhere across the region.

The Auckland Volcanic Field is a monogenetic volcanic field that underlies much of the Auckland metropolitan area. Its geological history includes the formation of extensive lava caves.

Stretching an impressive 100 metres in length, the cave bears witness to the dramatic volcanic processes that shaped Auckland’s landscape. Distinctly varied sections within the cave provide valuable insights into the flow dynamics of the molten lava that formed it. A secondary sub-level tube runs directly beneath the main cave.

Of particular scientific interest are the unusual mineral formations observed within the cave. Among the most fascinating finds are unusual mineral formations, including exquisite crystals, bizarre coralloid speleothems, crusts, puffballs, and delicate films.  A brilliant white film adorns the ceiling and walls and is likely bacterial.

Our hypothesis suggests a diverse mineral composition within the formations, including calcite, gypsum, desert rose, green selenite, bacterial films, and possibly others. These diverse deposits suggest potentially unique conditions present during the cave’s formation. 

The New Zealand Speleological Society, following a comprehensive survey, has formally recognised the cave as a valuable new addition to the area’s scientific and geological record.

It is hoped that further investigation of this lava cave will contribute to a greater understanding of subsurface geological processes within Auckland.

A selection of cave photos including mineral formations can be found below:

 

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