Speleological expedition to the salt caves of southern Tajikistan.

Speleological expedition to the salt caves of southern Tajikistan.
The preliminary dates of the expedition are September 05-18, 2021.

If you have any doubts about participating in an expedition to Tajikistan, read this short information. This speleological project in Tajikistan is supported by geologists from Tajikistan who are interested in the conservation and exploration of the caves.

20 years ago, the country experienced stress and political instability following a decade of civil war. Europeans and residents of neighboring countries were cautious about central Tajikistan and its high-mountainous eastern part – the Pamirs. But now the situation has changed. Today Tajikistan is a dynamically developing country. Over the past 10 years, tourism, economics, science and education have been actively developing in the country. More and more foreigners are coming to the country to get to know the area better.

The speleologists of our organization have been to Tajikistan several times. There are many ethnic groups living there, speaking different dialects. Different peoples may live in different valleys and may not be aware of each other’s existence. The people of Tajikistan are very hospitable and progressive.
The current stability in the country is ensured by the presence of the Russian army. Their military cooperation ensures the peaceful development of the country, which allows the promotion of various research and projects.

Therefore, our transboundary speleological project to explore unknown karst areas and caves in Tajikistan is the first official project implemented with the support of Tajik geologists since 2019.
In this regard, we have a desire to learn about the country’s environment, get acquainted with one of the most ancient cultures of Central Asia, discover new caves and consider the prospects for further research.

Our expedition has several tasks: Speleological, biological and other research related to caves and karst on the territory of Tajikistan.

During an international reconnaissance expedition in 2019, we learned about some of the natural features and logistical difficulties in Tajikistan. We learned about logistics, solved the issues of equipment delivery to the hard-to-reach karst regions of Tajikistan. We learned about the procedures for obtaining official approvals from government agencies to conduct research in various protected areas of the country.

In 2021, we decided to limit the search area for new caves in the Gissar and Zeravshan mountains, as well as explore the caves on the Khoja Mumin salt mountain. The areas of the Gissar and Vakhsh ridge (Surkhob ridge) are of the greatest interest. Soviet geologists described in their reports various caves and ancient many kilometers of cave mines. We currently know little about the length and volume of these caves. Some geographers and geologists also described caves and grottoes allegedly found on the Zeravshan ridge. But all these data must be verified by cavers.

Our ultimate goal is to explore the unique salt caves in the south of Tajikistan. Unique salt karst and caves in the Khoja Mumin mountain range. This mountain range consists entirely of tectonic salt rocks. In 1989, a group of Kyrgyz speleologists explored only a small part of the mountain range in 5 days. They discovered 2 large caves, the length of which was 2700 m and 550 m. This is an amazing combination of a dry climate and a large number of springs throughout the mountain range. It is not clear where the water comes from.

We hope that our idea will attract interested researchers. In 2021, we can conduct an official expedition to explore the karst territories and caves of Tajikistan with the support of officials.
We invite interested speleologists, biologists and other scientists on an expedition to Tajikistan.
The expedition is scheduled for the first half of September 2021.

Preliminary program of the expedition "Tajikistan -2021"

We plan to start from Kyrgyzstan to explore the karst regions of 
the Zeravshan and Hissar ranges along the way. 
For this you need to fly to the airport of Osh city.
Day 1. Arrival in Osh
Day 2. Drive to Khujand (Tajikistan)
Day 3. Drive to the karst region of the Zeravshan ridge
Reconnaissance of karst areas in the vicinity of Penjikent
Day 4. Penjikent - Dushanbe - Tursunzade
Day 5-7. Search and study of karst areas
Day 8. Tursunzade - Dushanbe - Kulyab - Khoja Mumin
Day 9-13 Exploring the salt karst
Day 14 Return to Dushanbe
Day 15. Dushanbe - airport
Departure

About Hoja Mumin

Photo from Khoja Mumin

                                               Expedition route, location of salt mountains

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