|View from the newly discovered cave at the entrance to Jerusalem. (Credit: Image courtesy of Hebrew University of Jerusalem)|
The cave is narrow and a few dozen meters high, forming an underground canyon. It contains an underground stream, flowing in a southeasterly direction. It is a type of karstic cave, which refers to an area of limestone in which dissolution has produced sinkholes, underground streams and caverns. Karstic caves are common mainly where the climate is wetter, such as Slovenia.
The length of the cave is believed to extend for several hundred meters, at least, though its true length will only be known after subsequent explorations. At a distance of some 200 meters from the service shaft, the Hebrew University cave explorers found a series of small waterfalls. Testing of the water in the cave, it is believed, can yield valuable information about potential pollution of the underground water supply in the Jerusalem area.
"This cave is the largest and most impressive of its type that has yet been found in Israel," said Frumkin. He pointed out that the cave is situated in an area about which there is uncertainty regarding the direction of the flow of water in the mountain aquifer, and this cave can assist in achieving a better understanding of that phenomenon.
Frumkin cited the law that requires preservation of the cave for future generations, but said that this should be feasible for the most part without harming the work on the construction of the new train station.
Source: ScienceDaily (June 19, 2011)