In a search for the route to the 2000 meters depth: The deepest cave in the World in the Arabika Massif, Western Caucasus

Brief notes on the cave and further perspectives

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Brief notes on the cave and further perspectives

The cave develops in the thick-bedded and massive Upper Jurassic limestones, in the vault zone of the Berchil'sky anticline. The limestones become increasingly sandy starting from the depth of about 300m, with maximum sand content in the depth interval of 400-600m, the feature previously noted for the adjacent Kujbyshevskaja Cave.

The main branch of the Krubera Cave develops steeply in depth by vertical pits separated by short meanders and shifts a little to the southern slope of the anticline. Apart from the "Non-Kujbyshevskaja" branch, which stretches for almost 500m to the north-west, the cave is looping within quite small area (400 by 400m), remains within a small tectonic block and does not extend beyond the southern ridge of the trough valley.

By both, the degree of morphological development and hydrologically the cave cedes to the adjacent Kujbyshevskaja Cave. Small water flow (up to 1 l/sec) appears in the cave at the depth of about 340m. It disappears and reappears on various levels but never increases considerably.

At its present bottom at -1710m (530m above sea level) the cave neither enters a main collector river passage nor shows any signs of considerable flooding that would indicate close proximity to its base level of a collector. These features, together with the previously proven connection of the Arabikskaja system to large springs at the Black Sea shore, suggests clear potential to deepen the cave by at least 150-200m (estimated conservatively) or up to 300-350m with more optimistic estimation.

Equally realistic is the attempt to connect caves with entrances that are at higher elevations into the Krubera Cave main system. The best prospects are the nearby Berchil'skaja Cave (-500m) entered 150m above, and Martel's Cave located some 80m above. Hence, the possibilities of gaining a 2000m+ system in this area in the near future are exceptionally good.

The Ukrainian Speleological Association and CAVEX Association will continue strong and regular efforts during next several years, both in summer and winter periods, in order to fully explore Krubera and other caves of the Ortobalagan trough valleys with an ultimate goal to explore the first 2000m+ cave on the Earth.

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