|Ancient Shizuoka wind cave to be filled with concrete to reinforce local road
MISHIMA, Shizuoka -- A wind cave near the base of Mt. Fuji here, one of Japan's oldest, will be filled for road construction.
The Mishima Municipal Government earlier said it would fill the "Mishima Fuketsu," an underground wind cave below an area near JR Mishima Station's north entrance, to construct a new road over the cave. About half of the estimated 3,000-square-meter cave will be filled with cement to reinforce the ground.
Currently, no scientific investigations are being conducted on the cave, which contains rare stalactites, but some volcano experts insist research be carried out before the construction.
Discovered in 1953, the Mishima Fuketsu is one of some 100 known wind caves around Mt. Fuji, which was created more than 10,000 years ago, at the southernmost point that the lava flow reached following an eruption. Its total length is at least 300 meters.
According to a study conducted by Nihon Kazan Dokutsu Kyokai (Japan Volcano-Speleological Association) in 1986, there are lava stalactites that have been formed over a long period of time in the cave and it is one of the few caves preserved in an urban area.
The area was once owned by a local pharmaceutical company, and later acquired by a municipal land development corporation in 2005, following the relocation of the drug manufacturer's office.
As part of the wind cave has already collapsed, the city plans to start filling it with cement, prior to full-scale road construction.
"Safety is our primary target. If we leave it without repair work, the existing roads running over the cave could also collapse," a city official said, explaining the urgency of the situation.
Meanwhile, President Hiroshi Tachihara of the Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Volcanospeleological Society pointed out the educational value of the cave, saying: "I hope the city will conduct thorough research of the wind cave and preserve the valuable parts of it."
Satoshi Koshimizu, director for the Natural Environmental Sciences Division of the Yamanashi Institute of Environmental Sciences also said: "We are investigating the wind caves at the northern foot of Mt. Fuji using the latest methods such as three dimensional analysis. It is incredible that they are going to fill the cave before conducting any research."