Tuesday Photo Challenge – Decay

Hello Everyone!

This week’s challenge is about Decay, which means – as its meaning on Cambridge Dictionary – “to become gradually damaged, worse, or less”. With that in mind, I decided to share with with information about a really cool and rusty place to visit!

The beautiful texture you see on the feature image is actually the inside walls of a volcanic cave in S. Miguel, Azores. It’s called “Gruta do Carvão” its age is comprehended in the gap between 5000 to 12000 years old! How is this for decay? Although I have photos of older and damaged pieces, but it’s from museums – this is the real sh*t!

So, volcanic caves can be found in many places where magma ascends to the surface – Azores, Canary Islands, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Korea and Kenya. It’s not a frequent geologic phenomena but in Azores archipelago there are 271 volcanic caves known by man!

The cave is very wide but short, sometimes we could walk normally, other times we would have to bend to pass through. Also, sometimes it was kind of difficult to breath as the air was cold and humid! They recomend to visit with some warm clothes, even in the summer, because the cave’s temperature is around 15º celsius.


““Gruta do Carvão”  is an important speleological monument and it has a total length of 2500 meters.

The roof of the cave is filled with stalactites from every shape.  The lava stalactites are developed from the fast cooling process of the lava dripping from the roof. Most of them have a very smooth surface and conical shape.

When lava dripping down from the roof accumulates on the floor of the lava tube it originates stalagmites, another common structure in volcanic caves, that frequently exhibit a globular/reniform form with a large base.

Most of the walls and roofs of volcanic caves are covered by a smooth and thin layer of metallic luster (glaze) that overlays the spongy textured basalt. This happens because basalt suffers a remelting process due to the high temperatures and pressures of the lava flows and gases inside the tube.”

It so weird and at the same time totally exciting, to be able to touch real lava – even if it looks like rust!



This was so hard to photograph, the air was cold which was not helping my camera lenses and the ilumination was poor, for property protection. I could only photograph with flash (and it was allowed, don’t worry!), because without with everything was just too dark to focus. On the site, you can see the their photo gallery and how the color and focus change from each of them!

If you want to visit this volcanic cave, you can have a 45 minute tour with a guide explaining everything in english (although I’m portuguese, this is a plus for you guys, who are from all over the world) and the tour covers 200 meters of the lava cave. There are longer/bigger tours but they’re exclusive to professionals with a guide specialized in speleology.


Would you like to visit “Gruta do Carvão”? Let me know on the comments!

Don’t forget to check Dutch’s blog on the link bellow, to get more info about the TPC!

See you soon*


Dutch Goes The Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge #94: Decay

“Gruta do Carvão” website| facebook

Image Credits: Mara’s Artistry

Camera: Canon 600D; 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II

This post is NOT sponsored.

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