Gruta Casa de Pedra

Casa de Pedra - House of Rock


Useful Information

Location: Parque Estadual Turístico Upper Ribeira (P.E.T.A.R.), Casa de Pedra núcleo. From Iporanga follow the Estrada Municipal Espirito Santo north 16km.
(-24.2846, -48.3523)
Open: No restrictions.
[2011]
Fee: free.
[2011]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=2,930m, VR=292m. Portal: H=172m.
Guided tours:  
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Nucleo Casa de Pedra, Alto do Ribeira State Tourist Park (PETAR), Rodovia SP-165, Km 156 s / n Zona Rural, Iporanga, SP, Tel: +55-11-97799-5106, Whats App: +55-15-99698-1015.
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

1964 first Brazilian Speleological Congress held at the cave.

Description

Casa de Pedra is world famous for being the cave with the largest cave entrance. It is located at the P.E.T.A.R. National Park, close to the núcleo (Visitor Center) of the same name. To reach this visitor center a drive of 16km from Iporanga on a dirt road with numerous wooden bridges is necessary. From the visitor center an interpretative trail starts to the 140m high Laje Branca (White Flagstone) and the Casa de Pedra. It is a 3h walk. The cave entrance is freely accessible, the cave behind is closed to the public and can not be visited.

The cave is very remote and as it is not developed for the public of low touristic interest. It became famous in 1964 when the first Brazilian Speleological Congress was held at the cave. At this time the height of the entrance was measured to be 175m high. However, the enormous size of the entrance was a problem for the surveying techniques of that time. A few decades later the height was resurveyed and the new height of 215m was widely published. Unfortunately they measured it from the start of the rappel on the wall, which is above the portal. As a result, while correct, this measurement is not the height of the portal.

A resurvey with modern laser based range finders and clinometers resulted in 172m height. The ceiling behind the portal has a height between 170m and 175m. And after the correction this is still the highest cave entrance in the world. And the new survey actually confirms the measurements taken in 1964. The re-survey was made by the Grupo Bambuí de Pesquisas Espeleológicas in 2005. They were resurveying large cave entrances all over the country. The exact measurements allowed to draw detailed cross-sections and profiles of the cave entrances. They also determined the entrance height of nearby Caverna Laje Branca with 94m, which is also quite impressive.

Even if the Brazilian cavers are quite proud of having the highest cave portal, they are wrong. Since 2002 CaveCueva del Fantasma in Venezuela is the highest cave portal with a height of 250m. Casa de Pedra is now the second highest portal.