Rare stalagmite found in Nagashima caves in Henoko

Rare stalagmite found in Nagashima caves in Henoko

The stalagmite covered in coral or the “consolidated stone tower” on September 8 in Nagashima, Nago City. (Photograph provided by Tatsuro Nakai)


September 20, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


Experts who investigated the Nagashima caves located off Cape Henoko, Nago City found something they are tentatively calling a “consolidated stone tower.”

These studies found that calcareous sediment congealed to form a beachrock stalagmite in this coastal limestone cavern, which grew as bits of coral adhered to it.

Experts evaluated that: “This appears to be the only such specimen in the country and it is extremely rare. It has very high value academically.”

They pointed out the need for more scientific investigations.

On September 19, the Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J) held a press conference at the Prefectural Office and announced this discovery.


Chihiro Tsujimura of NACS-J pointed out, “It may be valuable data for understanding the process of island formation in Okinawa geologically and topographically.”

She requested to designate it as a natural monument, and asked for the prefectural government to take the lead in conducting thorough research.


Nagashima is located near the temporarily restricted area of Henoko where construction of the new base is being carried out, and entry is prohibited.

However, due to the withdrawal of land reclamation approval by the prefectural government and construction being canceled, NACS-J conducted an urgent study in the cave on September 8 and September 12.

This study was conducted with the cooperation of lecturer of coral reef geography and topography Tatsuro Nakai from Kokushikan University and Associate Professor of marine biology Yoshihisa Fujita from Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts.


NACS-J’s Mariko Abe said that if the ocean current and tidal current change due to land reclamation work, it will cause immeasurable effects on the stone tower.

“The natural environment is precious for many reasons including academia and we must preserve it,” she said.


On the same day, NACS-J officials explained the survey results and submitted a request to Deputy Governor Kiichiro Jahana, asking for studies of the caves in Nagashima.


(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)


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