Poço Azul

Blue Well


Useful Information

Location:  
Open: no restrictions.
[2014]
Fee: Adults BRL 30.
[2014]
Classification: ExplainKarst Spring
Dimension: Well: L=40, W=20m, D=60m.
Photography: Allowed
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Poço Azul
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1995 bones discovered by divers but not removed.
1997 the diver Túlio Schargel discovered a 1,2m long rib of a sloth and contacted paleontologist Castor Cartelle.
2005 fossils from 15m below the water collected.

Description

Poço Azul (Blue Well) is a cave resurgence. The cave entrance is filled with water and the sunlight which shines through the cave portal illuminates the water in an eerie blue glow, hence the name. As a result the spring is best visited when the sun shines on the water which is from 08-FEB to 20-OCT daily between 12:30 and 14. The rest of the year the sun enters the cave but does not hit the water. But the time of sunshine is longer, from 10 to 16, and while the sun illuminates the cavern it does not hit the water directly, so there are no reflections. As a result the visibility in the water is even higher. Bad days for a visit are only rainy days, and the well is pretty dull. Fortunately it is located in a semi-arid region, where rain is pretty rare.

It is possible to enter the entrance and see the blue lake of the well, but it is also allowed to bath in the water. There is a wooden staircase to the water and a platform. The lake is part of a slow flowing cave river, so the water is continually replaced with fresh water.

The cave contains fossils, which were discovered 15m below the surface of the spring. The bones were from different animals, including a ground sloth (Eremotherium laurillardi) which was 6m long, a giant herbivorous mammal which is extinct since 11,000 years. Also the formerly unknown Ahytherium (Ahytherium aureum) was discovered in this cave. The fossil was almost complete, the animal was 91cm long, but was interpreted as a child which was still growing. The excavations were coordinated by Castor Cartelle, a paleontologist from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (PUC, Catholic University of Minas Gerais) and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG, Federal University of Minas Gerais). Together with the Canadian Gerry de Iuliis, the French François Pujos, and a team of 30 people the excavated a full skeleton of the huge mamma, which had the size of modern elephants.