Heaven's Cave

The "Heaven's Cave" is a leaching cave system formed in anhydrite and gypsum. It contains the largest natural cavity in a low mountain range in Germany.

The cave was discovered in 1868 during preliminary excavations for a 268 -meter-long railway tunnel, which today leads along the length of the cave, that was twice as large before the tunnel was built.

The cave-side tunnel vault was initially protected against stone chipping by  bundles of brushwood, and from 1906 by a

Cave in the Harz Mountains of Germany | Himmelreichhöhle Walkenried

6m thick earth deposit, which proved to be inadequate due to huge falling ceiling blocks .

Then, in 1937, a 50m long backfill tunnel was drilled above the west portal of the tunnel, and through it, more than 7000 m³ of backfill material was put into the cave and onto the tunnel vault.

In order to avoid subsidence phenomena and damage to the tunnel structure - caused by underground water inflows and thus further leaching of the gypsum rock - as soon as  1912 a water solution tunnel with two wings was built in the deepest next to the cave. During this construction, further smaller cave passages were discovered.

 

Until 1927, the water solution tunnel was lengthened again and again and continued on further wing sections, until the tunnel was about 800 meters long.

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