International speleological expedition to the Kozu-Baghlan karst region, southern Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan, 2024

Expedition dates are August 9 – 20/08/2024. 12 days

We invite speleological clubs, associations, scientific centers and all interested speleologists and speleological biologists to take part in the speleological expedition.

Expedition goals:

  • — Search and exploration of new caves,
    — Cave mapping,
    — Speleo-biological research

To explore the Kozu-Baghlan canyon, we plan to use a rubber boat. The length of the canyon is about 7 km. We also plan to use a drone inside the canyon to find entrances to new caves.

Expedition program:
Day 1. Meeting at the Osh airport. Accommodation in a guest house. Presentation of the program.
Day 2. Transfer Osh – base camp in the Kozu-Baghlan valley, 350 km
Days 3 – 10. Speleological research: search for new caves, exploration of hard-to-reach cavities, exploration of canyons and plateaus.
Day 11. Return to Osh
Day 12. Transfer to the airport

Project partner: Tian-Shan Geological Society

The mountain ranges of the southern Tien Shan are composed of limestone. Fractured limestones are actively susceptible to karst processes. There are many karst springs here.
We plan to focus our research on two karst areas, which are compactly located in the northern foothills of the Turkestan Range. These karst areas are confined to the Kozu-Baglan and Madygen canyons. Karst mountain ranges are composed of Devonian and Carboniferous limestones.

The relief of karst areas consists of grandiose canyons and plateaus on the Takta-Boz mountain range. The depth of the canyons reaches 300-400 m. During exploration using a drone, numerous grottoes were discovered on the vertical walls. Some entrances are confined to tectonic faults. However, to get to these entrances you need the coordinated work of a good caving team.
To this day, these karst areas remain unknown to speleologists and scientists. Local residents know several caves. But we do not know the size of these caves.
We plan to concentrate research in two canyons: Madygen and Kozu-Baglan. In 2021, we conducted a reconnaissance of these karst areas. Canyons with the beautiful names Kozu-Baglan and Madygen are isolated from civilization and located 50 km from large populated centers. This is one of the most remote karst regions in Kyrgyzstan. Good karst signs indicate good prospects for searching for new caves.

First, we plan to set up a base camp inside the Kozu-Baghlan canyon on a small plot of land. Here we will explore the canyon and plateau.
An alternative karst area is the Madygen Canyon and its Sary-Beles ridge. These two karst areas are located 25 km from each other. To travel between karst areas we use an off-road vehicle with 15 seats.

Therefore, we are forming a team of speleologists who will be able to walk a lot on difficult terrain and look for new caves. The region is located between the Fergana Valley and the Turkestan mountain range. From a geological point of view, it belongs to the tectonic system of the Southern Tien Shan. This area is in relatively stable tectonic conditions. There is a sharply continental climate with hot summers and warm winters.

The main feature of karst is the numerous springs that drain at the foot of the Takta-Boz mountain range (the main karst massif). The large flow rate of permanent springs, 20-30 l/sec, indicates active karst processes. During a reconnaissance expedition, local residents told us about narrow entrances, behind which large underground galleries and halls continue. Due to the lack of an experienced team, we were unable to conduct exploration of these caves.

In 1975, on the limestone plateau of the Takta-Boz ridge, geologists discovered several karst dolines in the eastern part of the limestone ridge. The diameter of karst dolines is about 20-30 m, the depth is up to 1-2 m. Some dolines end in narrow pores, in which water disappears in the spring.
Climatic conditions: In summer, the average daily air temperature is + 30, +35 degrees. Winter is warm with air temperatures of +10, +15 degrees.

In the Madygen Canyon in 2017, during a reconnaissance expedition, on the western vertical wall of the canyon, a huge entrance was discovered, which was called “Soaring over the valley”. The entrance is confined to a vertical fault that cuts the entire limestone massif, from the plateau to its foot. The thickness of the limestone strata above the entrance is about 150 m. The height of the wall between the entrance and the bottom of the canyon is about 150 m. Therefore, to get into the new cave, you will need a team of professionals.

All interested speleologists can take part in the expedition.

2-3 speleologists from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will take part in the expedition.

Entry visa: If you need visa support, you can contact us.

Regarding field equipment for base camp

We will provide all the necessary equipment for the base camp. We will provide a off-road vehicle for working in karst areas.

For the field base camp we will provide:

  • Individual tents,
    Large tents for kitchen and dining,
    Cooking utensils,
    Radio stations,
    Boat for exploring the canyon on the river,
    Electric generator,
    Equipment for field toilet and shower,
    Ropes, carabiners, hammers

Unfortunately we do not have a first author

If your club or federation is interested in participating, then write to us by email:

Photos from the karst region of Kozu-Baglan and Madygen 

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