By Tom Gillespie @TomGillespie1

BEAUTIFUL cave markings in the depths of a Russian mine have been captured in stunning detail

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Swirling patterns in Russia's Uralkali sylvinite mines went unnoticed by workers, who told photographer Viktor Lyagushkin that the caves were ‘ugly’.

In the red: Miners walk through the network of caves

The incredible markings are partially natural, but were also created by the workers, who were completely in the dark about their unintended artistry.

Tools of the trade: A close-up of the equipment

Viktor, 44, who was born in Moscow, said: “I loved the miners' reaction. When I did my photo shooting, I was looking for the best spots and I asked them where is the most beautiful place in the mines and they answered that all the places looked equally ugly.

"When they saw the resulting photographs they were overwhelmed.”

Shades of grey: A miner silhouetted in front of the swirling patterns
In the dark: Some of the miners had no idea about the motifs
Machinery used in the mining process

Viktor snapped the photos on trips down the Uralkali sylvinite mines in Berezniki, Russia, in August and November 2013, and February 2014.

A surreal pattern from one of the cave walls
Crystal clear: Viktor captures the markings in close-up

The breathtaking motifs only came to light after the photographer decided to share his images this month.

The depths of the mine are bursting with colour
Three miners dwarfed by the stature of the cave
Red zone: An eye-catching cave wall in an Uralkali mine

Viktor said: “If you ask me about my strongest impression, my mind was blown with the fact that the miners created this wonderful underground realm and they did not know that.

“Of course, their main task was to win the ore, and it turned out they created the most beautiful place of work and had no idea they did that.”

Tunnel vision: A view down one of the colourful cave networks
One of the workers among the incredible patterns
Heavy duty: Machinery used for sylvinite mining

Sylvinite is the most important substance in the production of potash, which is used to make fertiliser.

Two miners busy at work

Former journalist Viktor, who has been a photographer since 1998, said: “The air in the mine passages of sylvinite was full of fine salt, which covered my equipment and penetrated the smallest holes. All my clothes were salted.

“I assume this is one of the my best series. I am proud I was able to make this reportage and show people the stunning beauty of the underground world.”

The motifs are part-natural and part-created by the extraction of sylvinite