New chamber discovered in Santana Cave: Pierre Martin Chamber (PETAR – Brazil)

Santana Cave (also known as Roncador Cave) was first described by the German Sigismund Ernst Richard KRONE in 1909 and identified as the 41st in a list of known caves in the state of São Paulo at that time. Although not explored at the time, it was suggested as a cave with potential to be one of the largest caves in the state of São Paulo.

In 1975, members of the CEU (Centro Universitario Excursionista) during Tatus Operation (15 days underground permanence and chronobiology experiment held in Santana Cave) discovered  Taqueupa Chamber, icon of a network of galleries called Tatus Network, recognized by the variety and profusion of rare, delicate and beautiful speleothems.

Since then, further discoveries in the cave were limited to small galleries or chambers.

The development of the new topography in progress since 2007 by GPME (Pierre Martin Speleology Group) increasingly faces obstacles that go beyond simple horizontal exploration. With practically all the predominantly horizontal development mapped, we entered a new phase of Santana Cave Project. The vertical exploration…

During the holiday of September 7th, 2012, 37 years after the completion of Tatus Operation, a climb reached and discovered a new large chamber, which was called Pierre Martin (1932-1986), named after the main cave explorer that would have been 80 years old in 2012.

The Pierre Martin Chamber was mapped on October 13th 2012 and revealed an area of approximately 1,200 square meters and a development of 93 meters (horizontal projection), considering the side galleries. Two upper galleries inside the chamber have not yet been explored and are the goal of the next climbing activity, among others throughout the cave.

Currently the Santana Cave, with data from the new topography in progress by GPME is with the following development data by the CNC-SBE (Brazilian National Register of Caves – Brazilian Society of Speleology):

  • 8255 meters (Horizontal Projection)
  • 8421 meters (Linear Development)
  • 63 meters (Height)

The discovery of Pierre Martin Chamber, located at a place until then with no known upper gallery or chamber, confirms the historical hypothesis suggested by Manoel Marques on the existence of superior fossil networks associated with the initial section of the cave.

The vertical access, a 19 meters pitch, not only reveals a new chamber, but a richness of speleothems that place the chamber as one of the most beautiful in Santana Cave, or Sant’Anna, as Pierre Martin preferred to call.

Photo gallery: 

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