9. BARALDAY-2019, August 6 - August 20.

About the Baraldai project: 

Baraldai Karst district is located in the southern Kazakhstan in the border zone with Uzbekistan. The Baralday mountain range is the southern tip of the Karatau mountain range.

The highest absolute height is 1813 m (Bokeytau). The length of the ridge from the north-west to the south-east is 70 km, the width in the western part is 25-30 km, in the south-east it is 5-7 km. The surface of the mountains is lined up in the form of wide plateaus. Boralday and Kyirshikty rivers originate from the Boralday mountains. The mountains are composed of carboniferous (C) limestones, partially limestones are torn by intrusive rocks, which is a good sign for the formation of caves here with the development of minerals of hydrothermal karst. In ancient geological epochs, ascending streams of water, which formed a hypogenic karst, were an important factor for the formation of caves here. River feeding is associated with the internal hydrogeological ridge system.

Hypogenic karstic forms in the form of grottoes, niches and arches are all over the Baraldai gorges, this indicates the possible formation of caves of hypogenic and epigenic genesis.

The geological conditions, the climate and the abundance of precipitation in the winter and spring created good conditions for the formation of caves in this place. The relative tectonic stability of the region contributed to the active karst denudation, the speed of which exceeds the speed of tectonic movements, in relation to those that have developed and are still developing in the southern regions of Tien Shan.

Koshkar-Ata and Boralday are the most interesting gorges. The area is very poorly studied, replete with grottoes and interesting entrances, due to the extensive areas of karstic rocks (there are several links about the Auliye cave on Baralday http://www.titus.kz/. In spring the climate is very mild, in March it is not cold - about 20 degrees Celsius, in summer the air temperature can reach - 40 degrees.

The largest cave until now, has a length of 200 m, a height of 16-18 m and a width of 80 m. Large cavities are confined to places of accumulation of lead-zinc ores (Karasay Cave, Achisai). Therefore, some caves were ancient mines.

The Baralday mountain range is covered with snow only three months a year during the winter period, while many springs unload at the base of the slopes throughout the year. Permanent water sources point to an extensive hydrogeological system inside the mountain range, which drains the whole area of limestone rocks that compose the Baraldai Range. Perhaps, speleologists have a chance to find areas of absorption of water.

Several expeditions were conducted on the Baraldai Ridge, which were trying to find new caves. But because of the limited time and human resources of the previous expeditions no serious discoveries of the caves were made. Besides speleologists, the small Baraldai caves were also visited by archaeologists who made several discoveries: https://pikabu.ru/  

In 2019, our Foundation intends to conduct new karst research and search for caves on the Baraldai Ridge. In our opinion, the optimal timeframe for a full expedition are two weeks. During this time, you can explore large areas and understand the prospects of the karst area. Access roads to the massif also have restrictions for transport; therefore, during the expedition, there is a need to relocate the base camp to new places. The optimal amount of participants is at least 10 people.

The meeting of the participants of the expedition has to take place in the capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty. Our Kazakh partners will provide visa support if it is necessary to entry the country. Expedition vehicles - Mercedes Sprinter mini-buses, as well as an off-road car for overcoming difficult sections in the hills of Baraldai.

We will provide all expedition members with good RedFox tents, as well as comfortable living and working conditions in the base camp. Our cook will provide all participants with three excellent meals a day. The cook is responsible for the quality of food, cleanliness in the kitchen, fresh products, and also provides field dinners at radial outlets.

Anyone can take part in the expedition.

Objectives and goals:

1. Explore caves that locals know.

2. Search and study of new caves.

3. Study of entrances on hard-to-reach canyon walls.

4. Search and study of karst sinkholes on the plateau.

5. Geological research.

6. Hydrogeological research.

7. Speleobiological research. 

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