Gem ruffles feathers

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© N. P. Evans & D. A. Hodell
GEODE TOUR: This could be you.

THIRTY THOUSAND people have made ‘virtual visits’ to Pulpi’s giant geode since the provincial council made this possible just over a year ago. However, the local authorities and expert geologists insist that it is nothing compared to the number of physical visitors the unique crystal formations within a cave discovered 17 years ago could attract if it was opened up for real visits.

The geode, located 50 metres down an old lead mine, is comparable only to one in Mexico which would be impossible for the public to reach, meaning the gigantic jewel in Almeria’s Levante crown is totally unique. 

However, although the council and various Junta de Andalucia regional government departments agreed on a €2 million project to provide access to the geode back in 2007, and work began in 2011, it ground to a halt just a year later when funds dried up.

“I don’t understand how nothing has been done, it’s a unique space in Europe,” said Jose Maria Calaforra, a geodynamics expert at the University of Almeria and one of the few people who had the privilege of descending to inspect the site when it was stumbled upon in 1999.

His incredulity is shared by Pulpi Mayor Juan Pedro Garcia. “If we all agree this would attract visitors and needs promoting, why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?” Garcia wondered. “Visits are a perfectly reasonable perspective, the geode could be seen but not touched,” the mayor explained.

The site is in Pilar de Jaravia, in the skirts of the Sierra del Aguilon and just a stone’s throw from popular beaches in San Juan de los Terreros, meaning tourists could combine visits to both.

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