KARST of BUZBU-TOO MOUNTAIN

About the Buzbu-Too project:

Buzbu-Too is a mountain range in the Western Tian Shan, which consists almost entirely of limestone of carboniferous and devonian age (D-C). The range is located on the border between the Fergana Valley and the Chatkal Range. The highest point of the mountain is 2750 m. The length of the massif is 35 km, the width is from 10 to 25 km. Buzbu-Too mountain is located in the form of a large limestone massif, in the south-west of the junction of two large mountain ranges - At-Oinok and Chatkal, which distinguishes it from the surrounding ridges.

Geographically, the area is part of the Western Tian Shan, geologically it is a classic example of devonian and carboniferous limestones of the Middle Tian Shan. The nearest big town is Kerben.

For speleologists, the most attractive karst indicators here are water sources that drain the limestone massif all over the perimeter. One of these sources was researched in June 2018. Water consumption was about 30 liters per second. Locals of the surrounding villages talk about other similar large springs that form waterfalls. The source is a hole in a limestone rock, from which a water stream forms a waterfall with a height of 10 m.

Drainage occurs at the contact of carboniferous and devonian limestone, which represents a small layer of argelites. For locals, this place is considered holy. The largest discharge of the source is observed in April May and June, the minimum discharge occurs in September. In winter, the source is a small stream of water that continues to drain the mountain range during the cold periods of the year, forming a spectacular icy waterfall. This indicates that even in winter there is a process of water exchange in the hydrogeological system of the Buzbu-Too karst massif.

The surface of the mountain range represents small plateaus. The central part of the massif is composed of horizontally deposited layers of limestone, on the contact of which the formation of entrances to the caves is possible.

The Buzbu-Too mountain range is covered with snow for only two or three months in the winter, while many springs are drained at the base of the mountain slopes throughout the year. The always active water sources point to an extensive hydrogeological system inside the mountain range, which drains the entire area of limestone rocks that compose Buzbu-Too. Probably, speleologists have a chance to find both, modern active places for water absorption and paleo ponori, which can be continued by real underground galleries.

Access roads to the mountain range are possible only from its northern, western and partially from the southern sides. The southern slopes are inaccessible vertical walls forming canyons. But in some places there are trails leading to the upper levels of the mountain.

In May 2018, as a result of the international Israeli expedition, several southern gorges of the mountain were partially researched. In addition, a group of speleologists made a two-day route from west to north along high levels of the mountain. As a result, numerous karstic hypogenic forms were discovered: grottoes, niches, arches. On the vertical areas of the gorges, attractive black openings are observed, which can only be reached using special equipment. The group did not have enough time and resources to study more extensive karst areas and to study attractive openings in difficult vertical sections.

In 2019, our Foundation intends to conduct new karst research and search for caves on Mount Buzbu-Too. In our opinion, the optimal duration for a full-fledged expedition of research is of at least 10 days. During this time, you can explore large karst areas of Buzbu-Too mountain. The optimal number of participants should be at least 8-10 people.

As a result of the 2018 expedition, we learned from the locals of the surrounding villages about the existence of several caves and karst water sources in the mountain gorges of the massif. Perhaps locals meant small grottoes, but this information needs to be checked.

Anyone can take part in the expedition. The meeting of the participants of the expedition has to take place in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Our Foundation will provide visa support to all participants if it is necessary to entry into the country. Our car will meet you at the airport and deliver to the hotel. Expedition vehicles - Mercedes Sprinter mini-buses, as well as an off-road vehicle for overcoming difficult sections of the road.

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.

Objectives and goals:

1. Explore caves that locals know.

2. Search and research 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.