First half of august

The Takta-Boz mountain range is fully composed of Carboniferous (C) and Devonian (D) limestones. Limestones represent a massif with many tectonic faults. The length of the mountain range is more than 50 km.

The ridge lies between the Ferghana Valley and the Turkestan mountain range. From geological point of view, it refers to the Southern Tien-Shan tectonic system. The ridge enveloped by acutely continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Though the ridge is surrounded by desert landscapes, it is a large accumulator of moisture in autumn, winter and spring. The karst springs, which drain at the foot of the ridge, are salutary oases in summer sweltering heat. The springs have a practically constant flow rate in winter and summer, reaching 30-40 liters per second.

A classic karst landscape seen on northern slopes of the ridge. Many dark promising holes are visible on vertical inaccessible walls of canyons, and in easily accessible gorges.

During a reconnaissance expedition in 2017, local residents shared information with cavers about very narrow entrances, followed by large underground galleries and halls. Due to lack of time, they were not able to study the entrances, leaving them for future expeditions. In gorges and on the plateau of the massif, there are many signs of karst in the form of grottoes, niches, arches and other karst forms. Cavers explored only a small karst area in Madigen oasis.

Another important geological feature is the fact that the Takta-Boz ridge is located along the influence area of the South Ferghana hydrothermomineral zone. Owing to this, in its limestone strata should be formed caves of hydrothermal karst. Some of the most beautiful caves of Kyrgyzstan are confined to the hydrothermal zone. But our geologists argue that classic caves can be formed there.

The karst region occupies an area of low and mid mountain climatic zones. The southern and northern slopes of the ridge represent classic karst landscapes. In 1975, in the eastern part of the limestone ridge, geologists discovered several sinkholes (dolines). Their diameters were about 20-30 m, and the depth reached 2 m. Some sinkholes end with narrow ponors where drain precipitation water in spring.

At present, the karst region has not been well studied. First 3 caves were found there in 1975. In 2017, there were found small caves with 100 m in depth. Locals know several entrances, they claim, that it is felt a stream of warm air from there.

On vertical walls of the canyons there are several attractive black holes confined to tectonic faults. For their study, cavers with special training and equipment needed. Some easily accessible entrances are of small diameter, to expand those holes required special methods and tools.

Climatic conditions are very contrasting. In summer, an average daily temperature + 30, +35 degrees in Celsius. Winter is warm with the temperature + 10, +15 degrees.

One of promising entrances is located on the right vertical wall of Madigen Canyon. The entrance height is about 10 m, width is about 5 m.

Madigen Canyons

Canyons were discovered by cavers in 2017. They were formed in limestones of Carboniferous age (C) along tectonic faults. Vertical walls of the canyons reach a height of about 300-400 m. In some places, the width of the canyons barely reaches 1 m. Therefore, the narrow width of canyons does not allow visually seeing entrances on the high vertical walls of canyons.

A stream flows throughout the main canyon year-round. The source of the stream is karst springs, which drain the northern slopes of the Takta-Boz massif. In summer, the canyon’s bed filled with water, which creates excellent conditions to explore the canyon. In order to pass the canyon along its entire length, necessary several stretches of rope from 5 to 20 meters. Thus, several vertical ledges and flooded places make the canyon difficult to pass, especially in spring.

In 2017, during a reconnaissance expedition, was discovered a huge promising entrance on the western vertical wall of the canyon, which was called “Soaring”. The entrance is confined to a vertical fault that cuts through the entire depth of limestone, from the plateau to the foot of vertical walls of the canyon. The thickness of a limestone stratum above the entrance is about 150 m. The height of the wall between the entrance and the bottom of the canyon is about 150-200 m. Thus, in order to get to the entrance, it is necessary to have special equipment and a team of professionals. Presumably, a large cave system should develop behind the promising entrance.

During summer months, air temperature reaches +35-40 degrees in Celsius. In places, where drain karst springs, there are small oases that are the only water sources amidst surrounding rocky desert.

In addition, we plan to explore the western sections of the ridge, bounded by the Leilek River Valley, where according to descriptions by geologists there are several caves.

In 2017, to conduct research expeditions, our foundation obtained all necessary permissions from the State Environment Protection as well as support of local authorities. In this regard, the speleological research scheduled in 2020-2021.

All interested cavers can take part in the research. The most optimal number of team members in terms of logistics and costs, is at least 8-10 people. The most effective timing for the expedition is two weeks long in August.

Targets and goals

  1. Exploring known-among-locals caves.
  2. Search and exploration of new caves
  3. The study of entrances at hard-to-reach walls of canyons.
  4. Search and research of sinkholes on the plateau.
  5. Geological exploration
  6. Hydrogeological studies
  7. Speleo-biological studies

Photos of the Tacta-Boz Karst Area

Expedition route, location of the karst region

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