State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic Slovak Caves Administration
Štátna ochrana prírody

Ochtinská Aragonite Cave

It is located in the Ochtiná cryptokarst on the north-western slope of the Hrádok Hill in the Revúcka Highland between Jelšava and Štítnik. The cave represents a unique natural phenomenon of the underground karst with rich and varied aragonite fill and specific origin of cave spaces.

It is formed in a lens of Palaeozoic Devonian crystalline limestones situated amidst non-karst rocks – phyllites. The entrance adit opens to cave spaces at 642 m above the sea level. Wedge upwards narrowing passages and halls were formed by corrosive activities of rainfall waters, which percolated along the distinct tectonic faults. Different shape have mainly horizontal passages and halls, which are located between tectonic faults. These originated mostly by corrosive activity of slowly flowing water in consequence of mixing waters of various temperatures and chemical composition, which is obvious by plentiful irregular niches and ceiling cupolas. Along the previous water table level, which later declined and stagnated for a long time, corrosive planated ceilings were formed (they cut out the lower parts of ceiling cupolas) and side corrosion notches on rocky walls.

Three generations of aragonite were determined in the cave. It is formed from water solutions with high content of Mg-, Fe- a Mn-ions under conditions of stabile microclimate. The oldest are milky translucent kidney-shaped formation and their corroded relics (dated age of 121- 138 thousand years) with partially recrystalized aragonite, in places metamorphosed to calcite. The second generation of aragonite prevails and occurs mostly in the form of several cm long needles and spiral helictites (dated age of 14 thousand years). These form cluster or dentritic formations (including so called cave flower or anthodite), which are most attractive for visitors. Aragonite of the second generation is still growing, by which it maintains the white colour and clean appearance. The youngest, contemporary generation of aragonite forms tiny fans with diameter of 2–4 mm (sometimes even more), sporadically creating miniature helictites with length not overlapping 40 mm.

Absence of bats is typical for the cave. Also the invertebrate fauna is poor. Mostly springtails (Collembola), mites (Acarina) and dipterans (Diptera) occur here. Troglobitic springtails Pseudosinella aggtelekiensis and Deuteraphorura kratochvili are typical for the Slovak Karst. Gamaside mite Parasitus loricatus is a common species in Slovak caves. The larvae of rare dipteran Camptochaeta ofenkaulis of the Sciaridae family, known only from two caves in Slovakia, develop on organic material in the cave.

Show caves - Ochtinska Aragonite Cave



Dear visitors, our show caves are opened again from May 15, 2021 under the following restrictions: visitors must wear a face mask, disinfect hands and keep the required distance from each other. Details are stated in official country regulations and legislature. The number of visitors per admission is reduced. Thanks for understanding. We wish you a pleasant visit!

Underground boat trip in Domica Cave not available.

Due to low yield of underground water the boat trip in Domica Cave is not available. The short tour is available. Thank you for understanding

Cave visit with small children

Dear visitors, due to increased visitation of parents with very small children (circa up to 3 - 4 years of age), we would like to kindly ask you to have a rucksack baby carrier with you for visiting the more demanding caves in given time. This recommendation concerns all caves but the most concerned are the following ones: Demänovská Cave of Liberty, Belianska Cave, Dobšinská Ice Cave, Demänovská Ice Cave, Harmanecká Cave. We also ask you to consider visiting the cave with your crying child, which could disturb the other visitors. Thank you for understanding and we wish you a nice experience.

Cave tour guides for download

Dear visitors, cave tour guides are available for download


Správa jeskyní České republikyInternational Year of Caves and KarstHabakukyZajo