Karst area of Santa Ninfa and Gibellina

Santa Ninfa and Gibellina’s plateau represents one of the most significant karst areas in the gypsum of the Mediterranean basin, for the exceptional variety and abundance of karst morphology, both superficial and underground.

For his considerable geological, geomorphological and hydrogeological interest, it has been studied since firsts years of XX century by famous and copious academics, including Mariano Gemmellaro (1879-1921) and Olinto Marinelli (1876-1926).

Modeling by atmospherics agents, the gypsum rocks originate a landscape rich in imponent and suggestive karst forms, with different dimensions and shapes: there are numerous “dolines” (about 40), circular basin formed by rainwater, at the bottom of wich there is a “sinkhole”;  the imponent “Biviere’s Blind Valley”, about 2,5 km long, is crossed by a steep rocky wall that does not allow the surface runoff of water and give origin to the “Santa Ninfa’s Cave”; “Karren” of different sizes are widespread.

In the plateau there are 40 caves, which 22 have already been explored and identified. Santa Ninfa’s Cave is the largest and the most interesting area in terms of shape and concretion.