Pre and Post-Congress Programs

Brazil with its gigantic territory is still a country to be revealed from a speleological point of view, considering that caves are directly associated with the most diverse lithologies, and Brazil is a country known worldwide for its diversity and availability of mineral resources.

It was in Minas Gerais, in the interior of the Latin American continent, that American speleology was born by the visionary will of students from the Escola de Minas de Ouro Preto, with the Excursionist and Speleological Society in 1937, better known as SEE; however, the systematic study of caves in the country, in all its technical and scientific aspects, begins significantly only after the 1980s, when large cave systems were discovered, mapped and studied. Today there are more than 10,000 cavities cataloged throughout the country.

Considering the territorial extension of Brazil and its regional characteristics, we have caves in several lithologies and distributed by the six Brazilian biomes. The following itineraries are included for pre- and/or post-congress programs:

01- The Canyons of Aparados da Serra and the Paleotocas of Santa Catarina (RS and SC)

The Aparados da Serra Canyons are located on the border between the States of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, on the edge of the Serra Geral geological formation, carved into the escarpments of the volcanic plateau of the Paraná Basin. There are several canyons in this National Park, among the most impressive is Itambézinho (SC/RS), with walls of 720 meters, and Fortaleza (RS), with gaps of up to 900 meters in height.

The Brazilian Paleoburrows, which are distributed (mainly) across the southern states, were excavated by fossorial mammals of the extinct megafauna, always in friable material; certainly the geography of the region was so peculiar for having a great difference in ecosystems and climates that its studies can contribute nowadays to the knowledge of the regional paleoclimate.

02- Touristic Management of Caves in the Brazilian South Region (SC, PR and SP)

This region immersed in the rich Brazilian Atlantic Forest is privileged for having more than 300 registered caves, but, not all of them open to tourist visitation, management plans that bring proposals and guidelines as a response to the whole society concerned, both with the conservation of the rich heritage. speleological, and with the possibilities of generating work and income for the communities surrounding the parks, are elaborate works and serve as models for other regions with high tourist potential. The caves in the region, from the perspective of management plans, allow us to observe the diversity of speleological tourism in all its nuances, ranging from mass tourism, passing through ecotourism and adventure tourism and arriving at calculated risk tourism, in addition to contemplating tourism in karst parks.

03- Speleological Tourism in the Ribeira Valley (SP)

The underground domain holds some of the last untouched spaces on our planet, for this and other reasons, caves demand proper use, respect and protection. In the heart of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, Vale do Ribeira, carries out actions aimed at minimizing the impacts of tourist visitation and the effective protection of the many caves where the activity is allowed, it is a continuous process in permanent monitoring for a plural understanding of all the possibilities of speleotourism diagnosed, in order to generate different possibilities of use for different public profiles. The caves in the region, from the perspective of the practice of speleological tourism, allow this activity in all its nuances, ranging from mass tourism (Caverna do Diabo), through ecotourism (Gruta de Santana) and adventure tourism (Gruta da Água Suja) and arrives at the calculated risk tourism (Casa de Pedra), these caves, important in the history of the origin of the Brazilian Society of Speleology.

04- Sandstones of the Ponta Grossa region (PR)

The sandstone formation of the Ponta Grossa region is the result of the deposit of a large volume of sand on the seabed that took place approximately 340 million years ago in the Carboniferous period; the drainage of this inland sea and the lifting of its bed exposed the sand deposit which was then cemented with iron oxide, hence the reddish color of this sandstone. Rain (surface and underground) and wind erosion sculpted the relief giving rise to a large number of specific geographic forms such as sinkholes (in the region known as furnas), canyons, stone towers, lakes and very particular rock formations; It has a unique biodiversity and modern and sustainable infrastructure.

05- Quaternary Records and Environmental Impacts in the Region of Lagoa Santa (MG)

The Lagoa Santa region in Minas Gerais is considered the cradle of speleology and paleontology in Brazil, it is one of the most important karst regions in the country, with a dense set of typically dissolving features developed in pure calcarenites of the Sete Lagoas Formation (Bambuí Group) , without a doubt, the most significant natural, speleological, paleontological, archaeological, historical and cultural heritage in Brazil. In this itinerary, the main karst features of the Lagoa Santa region are visited, including caves, karst lakes, an archaeological site with cave paintings and a paleontological site with traces of the extinct Pleistocene fauna. In terms of environmental impacts, there is an emphasis on the numerous environmental problems that affect the region, such as mining, flooding of karst lakes, sinkhole collapses, uncontrolled urbanization, and depredation of caves.

06- Tourist Caves and Historic Cities of Minas Gerais (MG)

The cities of Minas Gerais are full of culture, history and natural beauty, tourism in the state has diversified in all regions offering unique experiences. The state's extension is enormous with a plurality of geological formations where natural diversity shaped its history from the first inhabitants of Brazilian prehistory who occupied the caves in the karst region of Lagoa Santa, to the pioneers of São Paulo in search of mineral riches that , began a systematic occupation throughout the state from the 17th century onwards, today we can glimpse this wealth in its beautiful, well-preserved historic cities.

The Historic Cities include Congonhas, Sabará, Mariana and Ouro Preto, the last two with deactivated gold mines and open to underground tourism. In the Tourist Caves itinerary is the Gruta do Rei do Mato, Gruta da Lapinha and Gruta do Maquiné.

07- Serra da Capivara National Park (PI)

The Serra da Capivara National Park is the area with the highest concentration of prehistoric sites on the American continent and Cultural Heritage of Humanity - UNESCO, in addition to having the oldest specimens of rock art on the continent, an archaeological conservation site with a great wealth of vestiges that have been preserved for millennia, it is where cultural heritage and local ecosystems are intimately linked. It is a monumental open-air museum, with beautiful rock formations, important archaeological sites, as well as spectacular paleontological sites, which testify to the presence of prehistoric humans and animals.

08- Speleology and Archeology in the Peruaçu Valley (MG)

The São Francisco River cuts from south to north the entire largest Brazilian speleological province, the Bambuí Speleological Province. This province is characterized by a sedimentary package of limestone rocks with more than 200 meters of thickness, fine stratigraphy and practically subhorizontal. Such geological characteristics allowed the tributary networks of the São Francisco River to excavate gigantic practically horizontal caves with wide galleries. The Peruaçu River, located in the North of the State of Minas Gerais, before dumping its waters on the left bank of the São Francisco River, excavated a series of caves in its normal course and tributaries. In total there are about 140 speleological sites, most of them with signs of prehistoric human occupation, making the site one of the largest concentration of archaeological sites on the planet, in addition to housing an indigenous tribe of the Xakriabás.

09- Serra da Bodoquena and Pantanal (MS)

The Pantanal Basin is currently still in subsidence and has a complex water system that contributes to it being one of the most important and most fragile ecosystems in the world. The presence of carbonate rocks in the region enabled the formation of numerous karst features, such as sinkholes, sinkholes, upwellings, in addition to the formation of caves. The karst relief develops on the carbonate rocks of the Corumbá Group, covering most of the mountainous relief of Serra da Bodoquena. This mountain, especially in the Bonito region, where nature is preserved thanks to exemplary ecotourism, with a multiplicity of natural ecosystems, is for those who like geology a region that has at its disposal a series of aspects to be investigated, in addition to an unparalleled landscape. The embryo of all ecotourism in the region is the Gruta do Lago Azul, with a lake in its interior that is more than 50 meters deep and totally transparent; in summer, sunlight passing through the entrance portal falls directly on the surface of the lake and creates an optical spectacle, which turns the lake navy blue.

The Pantanal Matogrossense, the largest ecosystem of its kind in the world, stands out in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul for its fish and abundant fauna.

10- Dive in Bonito Caves and trip to Pantanal (MS)

The transparency of the waters of Bonito and the amount of subterranean cavities flooded and with the possibility of diving, make Bonito the paradise for caving-diving in South America. In addition to floating in the rivers and springs of the region, the technical dive in the Gruta do Mimoso or the dive in the Anhumas Abyss, after a 70-meter rappel, to observe the huge submerged cones, takes the speleo-divers to ecstasy. Nature in the southern Pantanal region is privileged. And it's not just the geological aspects that draw attention. The flora is exuberant and the visitor has the opportunity to observe a rich and diverse fauna.

11- Terra Ronca and Goiás Caves Complex (GO)

In the middle of the Cerrado, with enormous biological diversity, the region is very well served by rivers, five of which belong to the Paraná Basin and cut through limestone massifs forming gigantic cave systems, one of the most beautiful speleological groups in Brazil, with typical geological formations. of tropical Karst, where huge limestone outcrops shelter several dolinations and several of the largest and most important caves in Brazil. The various cave systems have in common the kilometric galleries and the large volume of water courses, among these systems are the Angélica-Bezerra Caves (14,100 km), São Vicente (16,390 km), São Mateus (22,600 km) Terra Ronca -Malhada (7,500 km) and São Bernardo-Palmeiras (5,610 km), among hundreds of other caves, some known and others still unexplored. This fascinating speleological complex is protected by the Terra Ronca State Park, with an area of ​​approximately 57,000 ha, and by an Environmental Protection Area with 40,000 ha.

12- Karst and caves of Chapada Diamantina (BA)

The geomorphological and geospeleological aspects of the Chapada Diamantina region show that the Chapada is supported mainly by Middle Proterozoic to Neoproterozoic quartzites and metacalciums. On the quartzites, karst features are observed, such as various depressions, karst valleys and caves, such as the Lapão cave, in Lençóis, with about 1500 m of development. In limestones, Chapada Diamantina is recognized for its large concentration of kilometric caves, of immense scenic beauty and scientific importance, such as Poço Encantado, Lapa do Bode, Lapa Doce, Torrinha and Brejões. The region also houses important historical testimonies of diamond exploration, aspects of architecture, the environment in general (savannah-type vegetation and rocky fields) and regional habits of Chapada that will be enjoyed during visits to this region.

13- Diving in the Chapada Diamantina Caves (BA)

Chapada Diamantina brings together a wide variety of attractions, one of the highlights is the diving in caves and grottos that are located in different parts of the Chapada Diamantina National Park. Notable for its richness and variety of scenarios and ecosystems, the region called Chapada Diamantina, in the center of the state of Bahia, has proved to be one of the most promising centers for cave diving in the country, with unique formations and characteristics and very high quality of dives, such as: Poço Azul, Pratinha Complex- Gruta Azul, Poço Encantado, etc. Interspersing days of diving, visits to the region's caves, natural viewpoints and sites of historical and cultural interest (Lençóis, Mucugê and Andaraí-Igatu) complement this itinerary

14- Caves in Quartzite in Ibitipoca (MG)

The Ibitipoca State Park presents great scenic beauty which is associated, among others, to the process of karstification in quartzites, highlighting numerous caves and classifying it as the largest karst area in quartzite in Brazil, being the most representative of the caves the Cave of Bromélias, with 2,750 meters of extension; the quartzite caves in this Park have similar characteristics to the corresponding caves in Venezuela, South Africa and Australia. In addition to the caves, other karst features occur in the park, such as semicircular collapsing sinkholes and pits, which are means of access to caves, cliffs and waterfalls. The Park has a reasonable number of endemic plant species; orchids, bromeliads and a huge variety of lichens can be easily found. Its fauna is made up of a large number of birds, mammals such as the Guará Wolf and monkeys, which can be heard in the mornings.

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