SPELEO EXPEDITION. BUZBU-TOO, ISFAN-JAILOO 5.09. - 18.09.2018

Project Buzbu-Too, Isfan-Jailoo (Western Tien-Shan) from September 5 to September 19, 2018

It is planned to conduct a speleological expedition in two neighboring karst areas of Buzbu-Too and Isfan-Jailoo located relatively not far from each other. The location of the districts makes the logistics convenient, which makes it possible to make an attempt of  exploring just these two districts.

The Buzbu-Too mountain massif is located in the form of a large karstic remains located south-west of the junction of two large mountain ranges At-Oynok and Chatkal. Geographically, the region belongs to the western Tien Shan, but according to the geological structure it is a classic example of the Devonian and Carboniferous limestones of  Pamir-Alai, which distinguishes it from the surrounding ridges.

The nearest major settlement, Kerben.

The highest point of the massif is about 2800 meters. The average excess over the valley (the basis of erosion) is about 800-1000 meters.

The entire mountain range is composed of the Devonian and Carboniferous limestones. There are layers of argillites on  the contacts , which serve as a waterproof layer. Therefore, many springs are unloaded on the contacts and in the bases of uneven limestone.

The southern part of the mountain massif is cut by canyons and canyons with numerous streams. In the spring, during the melting of the snow cover, dry channels are filled with water streams, the main sources of which are numerous springs. Springs operate even in the winter, which indicates their karstic origin, when the karst waters continue to drain the limestone massif.

This area has never been explored by speleologists. Reconnaissance was  conducted  between Kyrgyz and British speleologists   in this  area  In 2017 . It turned out that the locals know several caves in the limestone tools of Buzbu-Too. The hydrogeological structure and the formation of travertines on the contacts of argelites and limestones, as well as permanent springs, suggest here the presence of caves of classical genesis through karst leaching of carbonate rocks.

The warm climate of the Fergana Valley and the abundance of precipitation in this region are important factors for the formation of caves here. The flow of some springs reaches 50-60 l / s.

The availability of the area is very easy, which makes logistics quite simple. An expedition to the area is planned in June, when the main indicators for the formation of caves will be still active springs.

Inputs of various sizes are confined mainly to the middle and lower parts of the mountain massif. In the upper part of the massif there may be water absorption sites (ponor).

The base camp is planned to be located in one of the gorges in the forest near the constantly functioning Monduz creek.

Goals and objectives:                                                                                             

1. Estimation of the karst area

2. Research of famous caves, which the locals know

3. Search and exploration of new caves

4. Research of numerous grottos at different levels and canyons

5.Search for entrances to caves at the contact of argelites and carbon limestones

6. Search and investigation of water absorption zones

7. Geological research

8. Hydrological research

9. Speleobiological research

The Isfan-Jailoo mountain massif is a spur of the Ferghana mountain range and closes it in the north-west. The largest nearby population center, the city of Karakul is  the largest nearby population center.

Isfan-Jailoo for speleologists has always been attractive, mysterious and hard-to-reach because of the lack of roads. Despite the fact that it  western extremity rests on the Bishkek-Osh road.

The horse trails of shepherds and hunters are the only way to reach the high plateaus or to pass along the canyons. The quaint mass is visible from the Kok-Bel pass along the Bishkek-Osh road. Limestone cliffs of Isfah-Jailoo close to the road at the entrances to the city of Karukul.

The Isfan-Jailoo ridge extends from the southeast to the northwest. The absolute heights of the plateau are more than 3000 meters. There are numerous grottos observed  In the gorges and canyons , various karst landscapes. In 1974, 5 caves were found  by  geologists   with stalactites, as well as caves with crystals that have hydrothermomineral origin.

In speleological terms, at the present time, the area has not been practically studied. Karst phenomena are widely developed in limestone of Devonian, Silurian-Devonian and Carboniferous. There are numerous karst arches, grottoes, cars, ponors. Numerous niches are marked in tectonic ledges in the sides of canyons and canyons. There are 8 caves in the region. The largest - Khakasska - is located in the headwaters of the Kurawes riverbed, its known length is 360 meters.

In the gorges of the southernmost part of the massif of the Babash-Ata mountain, local residents know several caves. The longest of them is Zhemchuzhnaya (Pearl), the famous length of which is about 150 meters.

On the highland plateau Kumysh (3000m) which is located in the southeastern part of the massif, in 1989 the first speleologists discovered 10 karst sinkhole located in two rows, which indicates their association with two tectonic faults. All funnels were closed with stone debris. For three days of digging, an attempt was made to open the entrance to one of the promising funnels. But because of lack of strength and time, it was written to leave the plateau.                                                                                                                                             

The complexity of the research lies in the lack of roads. The transfer of the base camp to the most convenient place should be carried out on horses or donkeys. An alternative is a helicopter.

The height of the walls of the canyons is impressive. Exceeding some of them over the thalweg of canyons is about 1000 meters. A lot of grottoes  on limestone vertical walls. Karst sinkhole are discovered by geologists on extensive plateaus located in the northwestern part of the massif.

The climatic conditions of the Isfan-Jailoо mountain range are contrasting. The average annual temperature is 6-8 degrees. In the summer of June-July-August, the temperature rises to 30-35 degrees in the low-mountain zone, and in the high-altitude plateau region, the air temperature in the daytime is up to 20-25, at night to 10-15 degrees. The peculiarities of the karst area is that, at the present time, a fairly large amount of precipitation falls out. The average annual level is about 400-500 mm.

In our opinion, the warm climate and the abundance of precipitation in this karst region, the many springs at the base of mountain slopes and canyons, are important factors for the formation of caves here. The flow of some springs reaches 150-160 l/s.

The vegetation cover consists of shrubs, archa, and pines. All the slopes of the bare limestone are covered with various herbs.

Goals and objectives:                                                                                 

1. Estimation of karst area

2. Research of famous caves, which the locals know

3. Search and study of caves in the area of discharge of springs

4. Research of numerous grottos at different levels in canyons

5. Search and research of karst funnels on the plateau

6. Search and study of water absorption zones

7. Geological research

8. Hydrological research

9. Speleobiological research

Our fund, having received the permission of the State Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the local authorities to conduct research expeditions, plans to begin speleological studies in these karst areas of the limestone massifs Buzbu-Too and Isfan-Jailoo as early as 2018.

The best option, when one expedition, will work consistently in two districts.

All interested speleologists can take part in the research.

But, to work in these areas Buzbu-Too the best option for research is the option of one team.

The most optimal option in terms of logistics and cost, the team should be at least 5-6 people.

We enclose the map of the Kyrgyz precipitation and temperature.

The cost of participation is determined by the number of participants, as this determines the cost of logistics and all other services for the maintenance of the base camp and the expedition as a whole.

The price includes all equipment for the base camp (tents, tents and kitchen equipment, generator, etc.), car rental, payment to the cook, issuance of permits, consumables (gasoline for the generator, gas, etc.), organization.

If the number of participants is more, then the cost for participation in the expedition will be less.
 
The maps show the contours of the karst area where speleological studies are planned.