Grotte Is Zuddas


Useful Information

Location: località Is Zuddas, 09010 Santadi SU.
From Cagliari SS195 to Teulada, turn right on SP70. SS293 between Siliqua and San Giovanni Suergiu, at Is Pireddas turn off to Santadi, SP70 towards Teulada.
(39.045664, 8.706650)
Open: Mid-APR to mid-JUN daily 11, 12:15, 15, 16:15.
Mid-JUN to mid-SEP daily 10-12:15, 14:30-18.
Mid-SEP to mid-OCT daily 11, 12:15, 15, 16:15.
Mid-OCT to mid-APR Mon-Sat 12, 16, Sun, Hol 11, 12:15, 15, 16:15.
[2023]
Fee: Adults EUR 12, Children (6-12) EUR 8, Children (0-5) free.
[2023]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave Cambrian limestone.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=127 m asl, L=1,650  m, T=16 °C, A=236 m asl.
Guided tours: D=1 h, L=1,000 m.
V=50,000/a [2000] V=35,000/a [2008]
Photography: allowed without flash
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Grotte Is Zuddas, Località Is Zuddas, I-09010 Santadi, (Cagliari), Tel: +39-0781-1888010, Cell: +39-392-1922411. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1960 cave discovered.
1968 artificial entrance tunnel constructed for mining alabaster.
1971 new parts discovered by the Speleo Club Santadese (Santadese Caving Club).
1971 the Santadi Municipal Council places the Is Zuddas cave under protection and closed the accesses.
1985 opened to the public.

Description

The cave Grotte Is Zuddas is famous for a hall which contains many beautiful SpeleothemHelictites or Eccentriques. They consist of aragonite. The aragonites come in two distinct forms, so-called cave flowers the acicular aragonites, which appear as large tufts of needle-like crystals, and the spectacular helictites. The extremely high concentration in one chamber makes Grotte Is Zuddas unique in the world.

The cave is located inside Monte Meana (237 m asl), in 530 Ma old Cambrian dolomitic limestones. It was quarried for "marble" in the 1960s. The quarrymen built an entrance tunnel and quarried the speleothems from the entrance section. The damages can be seen in the first chamber, the speleothems were not only removed, there are also damages from the explosives. The remaining speleothems give an impression how extraordinary the chamber must have been before. The cave was explored by the Speleo Club Santadese (Santadese Caving Club) who discovered a continuation with extraordinary speleothems. They were aware that there was the danger that the new discoveries would also be mined, so they managed to get the cave placed under protection.

At a height of 15 m is an opening which is the natural entrance. It was a pothole, and was walled up for security reasons. The next chamber has almost no speleothems. There are large rock blades which are a result of erosion, also pressure pipes.

The following chamber contains a huge colum resembling an organ-pipe, with cave coral at the foot. Hence, it is called Sala dell'Organo (Organ Hall). There are soda straws and aragonites. On the left is a 60 m high flowstone formation.

The next chamber is the Sala del Teatro, the first part which was discovered in 1971. The chamber is huge and massively decorated with speleothems. On the left side is a shaft which is 20 m deep and connects to the cave river in the lower level. The highlight is the Sala delle Eccentriche (Helictites Chamber) with a spectecular display of aragonite concretions.

A skeleton of the endemic rodent Sardinian pika Prolagus sardus is on display near the cave entrance. It is extinct for about 400 years and lived only on Sardinia and Corsica. Bones were discovered in the entrance section. The cave has numerous troglobiont inhabitants, including spiders (Meta bourneti, Pholcus phalangioides, Dysderidae), millipedes (Blaniulus, Callipus), centipedes (Himantarium gabrielis), pseudoscorpions (Chthoniidae, Roncus puddui) and isopods (Catalauniscus, Stenasellus).