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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 11 Jul, 2012
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That classical karst is originally the region called kras in slovenia, which gave its name to the karst landscape. used in this sense about 95% of the classical karst lies in slovenia, with the remaining 5% extending to italy. a slightly different area was covered by descriptions of early investigations or karst phenomena, when the name classical karst was applied to a region between ljubljana, gorizia and rijeka, mainly in slovenia with some parts in italy and croatia [9].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

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Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
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Exploration Spotlight. This page presents the latest discoveries and achievements in the areas of Karst and Cave Research as well as Sport Caving. The underground world is last black spot on the map of the Earth and these are the latest news from there:

Close Krubera (Voronja) Cave: the first 2000m+ cave on Earth

August-September 2006 expedition news

In the period between August 19 – September 20, 2006 the Ukrainian Speleological Association (Ukr.S.A.) and the Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology (UISK) have conducted a regular expedition of the CA Project to Krubera (Voronja) Cave in Arabika Massif, Abkhazia.

The expedition was led by Yury Kasjan and consisted of 16 speleologists from Ukraine (from Kiev, Kharkov, Simferopol, Sevestopol, Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk and Kamenetz-Podilsky) and Russia (Moscow and Irkutsk). New explorations have been made in different parts of the cave, as well as various scientific observations, including the lowermost part.

A major progress has been achieved in the Nekujbyshevskaja Branch (a distinct branch diverging from the main one at -250m and stretching to the north-west, the direction opposite to the overall trend of the main branch) by a team led by Kirylo Markovskoj. They continued exploring a new part, discovered and pushed to a boulder choke at -643m in 2005 after breaking through the upper boulder choke at -490m. During this expedition the choke at -643m has been also broken and the branch pushed to -1004m, a point where the team run out of rope.

The work in the lower part of the main branch can be summarized as follows:

1) The lowermost part below the “Kvitochka” siphon at -1980m has been resurveyed. The depth of the post-siphon section (to the spit at the table of the “Two Captains” siphon, the one at the bottom) is measured to be 164m.

2) The “Two Captains” siphon has been dove by Gennady Samokhin for 40m in length and 14m in depth, to the point where he was stopped by a squeeze. So, the new overall depth of Krubera Cave is now -2158m (see notes on survey data below). The absolute elevation of the lowermost reached point in the cave is about 100m a.s.l. but it still far (more than 12km) from the Black Sea coast where the discharge from the system occurs.

3) Some new explorations have been made in the lower part of the cave: an ascending side passage at -1710m has been explored for 150m/+20m; a dry bypass of the siphon “Unitaz” at -2068m has been found; a siphon at -1775m (first tested in August 2004) has been dove by G.Samokhin, who passed a narrow place at -10m but stopped at an underwater boulder choke in the ascending leg.

The scientific program in this expedition included geological observations, various sampling (clastic sediments for mineralogic analysis, microbiologic materials, speleothems for U-series dating), temperature measurements (over 200 measurements through the depth profile in both the main branch and Nekujbyshevskaja) and observations of the seasonal groundwater level fluctuations from flood evidences. The latter suggest that the water level may arise during a year up to approximately -1700m, the fluctuation for more than 450m (during spring snowmelt floods or major rainfalls).

The updated map of the whole Krubera Cave will be published soon.

Krubera total depth: -2,158m

Krubera total length: 10,870m

Notes on the survey data and depth measurements:

The complete integrated Krubera survey dataset, maintained by the Ukr.S.A. through many years, consists of more than 1850 vectors to the date. Survey is performed using Suunto compasses KB-14, clinometers PM-5 (or Tandem instruments) and Leica-Disto meters or fibron tapes (all older surveys in the upper parts have been re-done during last several years).

During the October 2005 Ukr.S.A. expedition to Krubera Cave a team from the Moscow Branch of the Russian Geographic Society (T.Nemchenko and A.Degtjarev), supported by the Bulgarian cavers, has conducted an independent thorough hydro-levelling work from the entrance to –1194m in the main branch, in order to verify the actual precision of depth figures obtained from the standard survey. A comprehensive methodological substantiation for the technique, and the analysis of errors involved, has been performed by A.Degtjarev, E.Snetkov and A.Gurjanov of Moscow (available in Russian in “Svet” n.29, 2005 and at http://www.rgo-speleo.ru/biblio/hydroniv.htm; now available in English at http://www.rgo-speleo.ru/eng/biblio/hydroniv-e.htm). They demonstrated that the correct application of the hydro-levelling technique allows measuring depth with the 0.2% accuracy, i.e. with an error of 4m for a 2000m depth. At the same time, they estimated that the combined error in determining depth due to some commonly practiced improper procedures could be up to 2%. The roundtripping closure (up and down measurements) for the section 0-916m (80 measurements), performed in October 2005, gave an error of 0.05m. i.e. less than 0.01%. Therefore, the results of this survey can be reasonably taken as an etalon dataset.

Comparison of the standard Ukr.S.A. survey with the etalon data for particular points in the 0-1194m interval has revealed actual errors varying between +0.97 and -1.37 %, with an average error being 0.9%. Based on this, the overall accuracy of the Ukr.S.A. standard survey is assumed to be 1.0%.

The results of another hydro-leveling work, performed by the Cavex team in July-August 2005 and claimed to correct the Ukr.S.A. figure for the “old bottom” from -2080m to -2064m (to -2047m in other sources), have been shown to seriously suffer from improper procedures involved. Comparison of their results with the etalon data for particular points shows the actual error of the Cavex hydro-levelling measurements varying within -0.64 and -2.2% (average 1.2%), which is even greater than the errors of the standard Ukr.S.A. survey as compared with the same etalon. Therefore, there is no reason for correction of the figure previously reported by the Ukr.S.A. for the “old bottom”.

Conclusion: The overall error of the standard Ukr.S.A. survey is proven to be within 1%. The current depth of Krubera Cave, reported here as -2158m, has the margins of possible error between +22m and -22m.

Alexander Klimchouk, the CA Project coordinator,

based on the report by Yury Kasjan, the expedition leader