Trip 16: Marquine.

Material Information

Trip 16: Marquine.
Series Title:
Correspondence and Subject Files 1921-1943
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Subject Files
12. Trip 16: Marquine.


Subjects / Keywords:
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Maquine (Brazil)
Cordisburgo (Brazil)


Notes and photographs from a trip to see Maquine Grotto in the State of Minas Gerais, one of the oldest caves in Brazil, by P. H. Rolfs

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida Archives
Rights Management:
Copyright Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
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Maay 12-13-14. 1'- "--

Left B llo Horizonte on the 3:57 for Stet Lopoas, in con-nany
withDr. Jos- Mbpteir'o and his sister Amelia, Sr. Coussirat de Araujo,
'-- i;-r. Sdhreiner and the family, eight in all", We tnok the hotel man at
Sete Logoas by storm. 'hey had only four rooms but Were able to fix un

eight beds in these for us. After taking a walk around lown and a trip
to the lake we returned to the hotel, and finally succeeded in getting
to bed.
May 13- Saturday. Left on the 1:30 A. I1. train fcc !'ordisburgo.
This is a little town Pbout n league uhakixar from the mouth fof the
cave. Arrived at C. about 8:30 o'clock Some saddled animals were
already at the door. After taking coffee some more saddled animals
arrived. It was intended that we should make the trip to 'he cave before
breakfast. To this we objected and were served with breakfast about ten
thirty. A good repast and a very clean and tidy surroundings. At about
12: we were ready for the caravan to start to the Pave.
The mouth of the cave can be seen from the top of a hill
a considerable distance away. From this location we could sec the mo7,th
of the cave as walled up artificially. It is necessary to take a circu-
itous route in order to descend to the mouth o-f the cave. It opens with
wide mouth sufficiently large for all the animals to enter and be narkedd"
well inside. Some old and weathered stalagmites may be seenr. in the s/
central portion. These are considerably aped and weathered, annarenty
from exposure and weather. This is called the first room in Lund's
description. 9e gives it 88 x 66 x 96 feethigh. Peter 1'. Lund described
this in "First Memoria" Copenhagen, 1836. It w;as -r-translated in'o

SPortuguese by Dr. Leonidas Demasio Botelho and published in "Annaes, "'scla
de Minas, Ouro Preto", Yo. 3, 1P84.
From the first room or entrance we pasr-edl through a gin Soor
which was unlocked and opened for us. The second room is 1? rt'. long
and 7"4 ft. broad. In this we found a considerable number of stalarnited '
whiter and cleaner thnn those in the entrance room. 'he floor of ts
room is more or less irregular. From the floor of this room as well as
tLon the first more or less salt had been taken. A large part of the
floor still seems to be still solid rock.
The third room opens directly from the second. rhisis 220 ft
long, 116 broddl and about 50 ft. high. On the walls of this may be seen
a considerable number of stalactites. 'hie larger portion of the wall on
the left side is bare. At the end of this room toward the interior there
are several steps arranged in the form of amphitheater stones. A larpre
stalagmitic figure anpears in this room, likened to F. bear. "he floor
here is more irregular than the antecedent floors. This floor is said
to have been particularly rich in selt. A fourth room opens from this
90 ft. long, 66 hords and 66 ft high. Aecoring "o Lund this i? the nrin-
cipal nart of the first part of the cavern. By a passpre to the right of
some 60 ft, somewhat narrow, and mueh ornamented on both sides by stalacti-
tes we come to a new series of rooms very much more ornamented anw nore
beautiful. After passing through the long narrow hall cne comes to the
5th room Ich contains probably the best of the ornamentation in the
whole tavern. It is 78 Reet long and broad and 60 high. This according
to Lund is the deepest portion of the cave. In this we found a deern basin
about five feet or more deep containing more or less water. 'he floor of
this room is very irregular.
After leaving this room a series of smaller compartments are
designated by Lund as the 6 th room, on 108 feet end a high' of about


,-50 ft. In this region of the cave I found some of the finest anM
best specimens of stalagmites, stalactites and purest of the crystalli-
zations. in this room occurs the largest nart of the stalagmites or
crystallization that we encountered. To the right we wont up a laddar
for about twenty feet. The ceiling of this nart of the room is not as
,high as the other part' but has many fine specimens of crystallization
on the ceiiigg and on the walls. At some places it was possible to
touch some of the crystillizations that had formed from the roof.
Near the descent there was a large block of crystnllized material that
had fallen from the roof of the cavern. This incrustation was about
50 or 60 cm thick, several meters borad and norbhbly r' little lohger.
In some resnects this u-per room was more beautiful thrn Fny other rart.
h the 7th room we found the floor more or less covered with
powdered gypsum. This was so loose that the guide was .ble to sink
his foot into the surface for a distance of eighteen inches. 'he stuff was
so loose and fluffy that it was difficult to make the handle of the torch
stand up in it. The main interest in this room was the floor covered
with gypsum. After retracing our steps in the 7th room we came through
practically the same orening in the 8th room. "his was the largest and
most impressive of all. (Size of the 7th room 138x 7? x 50). The 8th
room is 534 feet long, 184 feet broad, From this we retraced our
steps is past the part we called the throne, made an exposrue on this
with Dr. LiA and his sister sitting on the seat. After this we passed
through passing our steps till we csme to the nart with the successive
rises simulating the benches of an ampitheater end made ondther exn.
on this part. This took in the whole groun. Used four thimbldfuls of
the magnesium powder as the distance from the rrou-n wrs long.
From this we retraced our steps to the onening oC the cave.
We spent a-prozima1ely two hours from the tirethat we entered the door.

/ -3-
^ After resting a t the mouth of the cave we Ftarted back to the

South of the cave at four o'clock. Reached there a little before five.
As a whole this was one of the most satisfactory cavners to
visit. It -is sufficiently buried and contains such E great variety of
-formations that there is something new all the time. A visitor should

start in somewhat leisurely and ex-nect to use un rbout two and a half or
three hours in going through. He should have his own means of lighting
as the guide provided only very indifferent lights for illumination.
In"case of a crowd of nlore than four the illumination would be so imner-
fect that only those immediat-ly at the guide's side would see anything
worth while. Then too the fuild has no interest in the cave itself and
wants to hurry th visitor thnx through as soon as -possible. A simple
torch made of soft cotton rpags soaked with kerosene will give the most
satisfactory results. The small street torch used for parades is en-
tirely inadequate to illuminate so large compartments lEd to P-ive good
vistas of s enes more than fifty feet r-wqy. The acetelyn Ulight used
bu the guide was scarcely equal to twilight at a distance of more than
twenty five feet. Cave belongs to man in Eio by name of Oswaldo Cruz.
Spent night at Curdisburgo gettin-. excellent meals and good
lodging. Put un at Pensao Vianna. Conducted by Sr. Sanovel.
May 14/. Sun. After taki g coffee walked up to the church in the
hill. Made exposure 6n the street of Cordisburgo. Took elso a general
view of hills toward westward showing trail toward cave. .ede two exposures
on ki interior of church. Then made two on birds nests (hanging') and one
of nest of joao .e barro. Next was of hotel at Cordisburgo.
Had breakfast, returned on the 12:00 train. Reached Bello
Hflorizonti at five o'clock.




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