16th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World

This photo was taken while exiting Gruta das Torres on the Azorean island of Pico. The longest lava tube in the Portuguese archipelago, it is only accessible through what are known as "skylights". Skylights are created when the natural ceilings of these underground caves become too thin and too weak and eventually fall into the cave. At Gruta das Torres, there are a total of four skylights, but only one is used for exploration and tourism. As you leave the cave, the dramatic view shows the decades-old trees that have grown up from the base of the dark cave, contrasted against the bright sky.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2018
Date Uploaded: 11.2018
Photo Location: Madalena, Portugal
Camera: Pixel 2
Copyright: © Kelly Watts