The deepest, longest, most unusual: scientists presented the first atlas of caves in Russia

The deepest, longest, most unusual: scientists presented the first atlas of caves in Russia

A team of domestic cavers compiled the first atlas of caves in Russia. It contains detailed information about 100 the most interesting caves, said in an interview with RT one of the compilers of the publication, leading MSU Researcher Alexander Gusev. The atlas covered many regions of the country – from the Crimea and the Caucasus to Kamchatka. According to the compilers, the caves presented in the publication have great scientific value and tourist potential.

Scientists from Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov University (Moscow State University), several institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a number of Russian universities, with the participation and financial support of the Russian Geographical Society, presented the Atlas of Caves of Russia, the first encyclopedic publication about the country’s most interesting caves. This was reported by the press service of Moscow State University.

“About five thousand caves are known in Russia. These are only those that are open, but in reality there can be many more. The atlas includes 100 unique caves – the largest, deepest, longest and most interesting, ”he said in an interview one of the publication’s compilers with RT is Alexander Gusev, leading researcher at Moscow State University.

Detailed descriptions are included in the atlas 176 caves, including karst, lava, glacial, gravitational, wave-breaking and others. The book also published a list 168 of the largest caves (longer 500 m and deeper 70 m) . The publication contains 900 photos, 168 topographical surveys, more tables and 47 maps and schemes. According to the compilers, it is intended not only for specialists, but also for a wide audience. The atlas provides interesting information about ecology, mineralogy, glaciology, archeology, paleontology, biology and the origin of caves, the history of their discovery and research.

According to Gusev, the publication also includes caves, which are of great value in terms of geology, chemistry and many other sciences. In some of these caves, scientists have made major archaeological and paleontological discoveries. The most famous of them is Denisova Cave in Altai. It was in it in 1994 that the remains of the Denisovans were found for the first time – a special branch in the evolution of the genus Homo.

  •                                 Archaeological work in one of the galleries of Denisova Cave                             
  •                                 RIA News                             
  •                                 © Alexander Kryazhev                             

Not less An interesting cave for scientists was the Tauris Cave, discovered in 2017 during the construction of the highway of the same name from Simferopol to Sevastopol. She was completely untouched by man, and her bowels represent a true paradise for a paleontologist. According to scientists, after the end of the scientific expedition, the cave will be converted into a tourist complex .

  •                                 Tauris Cave                             
  • © РГО

In addition to the Russian, the atlas also includes the four deepest caves in the world, which are located in Abkhazia. According to Alexander Gusev, they have been studied in great detail by Russian cavers.

The deepest caves in our country are located in the North Caucasus – in Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria and in Greater Sochi. The deepest of them – 500 – meter cave Throat Barlog, discovered in 1994 year in Karachay-Cherkessia. It got its name in honor of one of the characters in the famous novel The Lord of the Rings.

According to the compilers, the longest caves in Russia are in Siberia. The length of the Botovskaya Cave located in the Irkutsk Region is about km). The second longest cave Bolshaya Oreshnaya in the Krasnoyarsk Territory – km.)

The underwater Orda cave in the Perm Territory, which entered the atlas, gained great popularity among divers, the length of its underwater part is 4.5 km. The book also describes the unique Sheki-Khyekh with sulfur springs found in the Chechen Republic.

  •                                 Underwater Orda Cave                             
  •                                 © Barcroft                             

Properly from the book, there are many sightseeing caves in the country, and some of them, like the icy Kungurskaya, have been known since pre-revolutionary times. At the same time, there are many caves in the country that have huge tourist potential. According to Alexander Gusev, at present many unique caves in Siberia are equipped for excursion visits.

“This book is actually an encyclopedia of modern knowledge about Russian caves and the processes taking place in them. It has no analogues among the speleological literature published earlier in Russia and the USSR, and practically has no analogues in the world, ”summed up Alexander Gusev.