Ghar Alisadr belongs to
the precious natural heritage of Iran. It is currently one of the 10
most important show caves of the world. The
sustainable management, protection, and future development of Ghar
Alisadr both as touristic and scientific object needs a well-founded
knowledge on the cave system itself as a basis of future decisions
and geological engineering. An exact and complete topographic map of
the cave passages would assist the management of Ghar Alisadr and the
GSI and facilitate planning with regard to the entire extension of
the cave. Furthermore, a topographical map can be used for didactical
and advertising purposes (e.g. to inform the visitors about the
cave). A cave survey including the direction of the passages and
their cross-sections as well as the interior of the galleries will be
useful for geologists and other specialised scientists.
Several written sources had indicated that the accumulated length of all the cave passages of Ghar Alisadr is supposed to be around 11-14 km. However, the length quoted was merely an orally stated value that has never been verified by a proper survey of the entire cave according to international standards. Before this project took place, only an incomplete map of the touristic section of the cave was available, based on the work of Hamadan mountaineers. Further discoveries were merely sketched.
The successful 2000 and 2001 survey projects resulted in 11.440 m of mapped passage length for Ghar Alisadr and have left the cave with only some minor open leads. Hence, Ghar Alisadr is currently by far the longest cave of Iran.
Difficult weather conditions with heavy snowstorms during the 2000 project prohibited extensive field excursions at that time, which were instead done during the 2001 project. Besides an examination of the area close to Ghar Alisadr a number of other caves (Ghar Sarab, Ghar Soobashi and Ghar Gamasiab) were studied as well as karst springs and volcanic occurrences.
Institute of Geophysics, University of Goettingen, Herzberger Landstrasse 180, 37075 Goettingen, Germany, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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