Chapada Diamantina

Parque Nacional Chapada Diamantina


1844 diamonds found at Rio Mucujé.
17-SEP-1985 National Park created.


The Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina (Chapada Diamantina National Park) is rather young. It was created in 1985 to protect the fragile eco systems of this area. For speleologists the sandstone and quartzite karst is the most famous feature of the park. But there are also karst caves in limestones with an abundance of speleothems, especially aragonite, gypsum and helictites.

Chapada Diamantina is an erosional landform consisting of sedimentary rocks of the Paraguaçu Group composed of fine-grained sandstones, siltstones and argillites. On top is the Chapada Diamantina, which is composed primarily of sandstone, pelites and diamond bearing conglomerates. They form the 25 km wide Pai Inácio Anticline. The rocks of the Paraguaçu are softer and easier eroded, the reason for the formation of multiple escarpments.

Visitors to the park typically start at Lençois, a small village which was founded during the diamond rush after 1844. This diamond rush is the reason why this area is called Chapada Diamantina (Diamond Plateau). The mountain range is called Serra do Espinhaço, Chapada Diamantina is the northern part.

The most important limestone karst is found south of the city Iraquara. It is located at the western border of Chapada Diamantina. The limestones under the arid plains are heavily karstified with numerous huge cave systems. The Área de Proteção Ambiental Marimbus-Iraquara (Marimbus-Iraquara Environmental Protection Area) covers the plains with one of the largest karst areas in South America and the highest concentration of caves in Chapada Diamantina.