La Geoda de Pulpí

La Geoda Gigante - Geode of Pulpí - Geode at the Mine of Sierra del Aguilón


Useful Information

Location: Calle Sierra de los Filabres, 04648 Pulpí, Almería.
Pulpi, Sierra del Aguilón, Almeria province.
(37.381986052021400, -1.699117748863557)
Open: All year Mon-Sun 9-14, 16-21.
Online booking mandatory.
Check in 30 minutes before the indicated entry time.
[2023]
Fee: Adults EUR 22, Children (8-16) EUR 10, Seniors EUR 15.
Inhabitants of Puli: Adults EUR 10, Children (8-16) EUR 5.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 15, Minimum EUR 225.
Online booking required.
[2023]
Classification: MineSilver Mine SpeleologyGeode gypsum (selenite) crystals ExplainThe Most Expensive Show Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: Geode: L=8 m, H=2 m.
Crystals: L=2 m.
Guided tours: D=90 min, St=162. Español - Spanish English
Photography: not allowed, official photos taken and may be purchased
Accessibility:
Bibliography: Ángel Fernández-Cortés, José María Calaforra, Javier García-Guinea (2006): The Pulpí gigantic geode (Almería, Spain): geology, metal pollution, microclimatology, and conservation, Environmental Geology, Volume 50, Number 5, July, 2006, pp 707-716.
A. Canals, A.E.S. Van Driessche, F. Palero, J.M. García-Ruiz (2019): The origin of large gypsum crystals in the Geode of Pulpí (Almería, Spain), Geology (2019) online DOI
Fernando J. Palero Fernández, Fernando Gómez Díaz, José Manuel Cuesta (): Pilar de Jaravía. la Geoda gigante de la Mina Rica, Bocamina, 6, pp 52-67. Español - Spanish online
Address: La Geoda de Pulpí, Empresa Municipal de Suelo de Pulpí SL (Cif: B04534863), Tlef. +34 950 96 27 27. 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

1840 beginning of contemporary mining with the use of trenches and cuts into silver galena (lead sulphide).
1870 beginning of iron mining.
1890 after a decline of mining the Mina Rinca opened by the Marín Menu family revitalized the mining.
1939 mine after the civil war abandoned.
1999 geode discovered by Javier Garcia-Guinea of the Grupo Mineralogista de Madrid.
AUG-2019 opened to the public.
31-DEC-2021 damaged by vandals.

Description

The site is now called La Geoda de Pulpí (Pulpí Geode) and also often called the world's largest geode, but that's just marketing nonsense. The largest geode was probably at Naica, which is not accessible any more. We have listed eight geodes, which are actually open to the public, each of them definitely an exceptional and special sight. Nevertheless, with only eight such sites on the World, this one is definitely worth a detour if you are in Spain. Even if it's not the world's largest.

A geode is a term of mineral collectors, meaning a bubble in the rock which is filled with minerals. Because of the hole in the rock, water seeping through the pores of the rock transports minerals to the hole, and in the mineral rich water crystals start to grow. Generally geodes with a few centimeters in diameters are sold at mineral shops, items with half a meter are really expensive. But sometimes a geode with a size of several meters is discovered, and actually any natural hole in the rock which is big enough to be entered by a human is a cave, that's the definition of the term.

At the Mina Rica the geologist Javier Garcia-Guinea discovered a natural geode which is 8 m long and about 1.8 m in diameter. It contains selenite (gypsum) crystals which look like blades of glass, transparent and up to 2 m long, in average, they are 50 cm long. He named it Geoda Gigante.

The geode is a unique natural wonder, and it is protected by law, on the other hand, there is the urge to develop it for tourism, make it accessible for tourists. This is both an economic and an educational topic. Unfortunately, the crystals are very delicate, easily shattered, and destroyed even by minimal changes in humidity and carbon dioxide content of the air. So originally, the development for tourism was not thought possible and there was a plan to create a replica. In the end, the geode was developed and is now open for tourism. The operators state that temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide in the air are monitored accurately and the number of visitors is limited, so it will not harm the crystals. But this is obviously just a theory, as we do not know which changes are dangerous and which are okay. They do their best to err on the side of caution.

Currently, it seems the development of the geode for tourism is not the worst danger. On new years eve 2021, two persons forced entry into the site and by entering the geode itself wearing boots and helmets, they damaged the crystals. The Guardia Civil managed to find and arrest them quickly, and they are now being charged for breaking and entering. While they actually did not smash anything, they caused scratches in the crystals, and those damages will stay unchanged. There is no chance to repair the damages, and they will be there for the foreseeable future.

In the age of smartphones, most operators have given up to control visitors taking pictures, it's too easy to slip a smartphone into a bag. Nevertheless, the guys at Pulpí try to sell their photos in the store, for one euro per person they will send them by email, or if you print one for three euros, they will send them all for free. They talk about avoiding any type of contamination that may enter the mine (COVID 19), thus protecting their workers. Obviously its just another way to earn some money. But since time inside is limited, it's probably a good idea to spend it looking rather than fiddling with a camera.