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Berliner Höhlenkundliche Berichte, Volume 26: Karst and Caves of Iraq: Including the Results of a 2007 Kurdish–German Speleological Project and an Overview on Hypogenic Sulphidic Speleogenesis


Series: Berliner Höhlenkundliche Berichte Volume: 26

By: Michael Laumanns(Author), Akko Rasch(Author), Philippe Audra(Author)

75 pages, maps

Speläoclub Berlin

Paperback | Jan 2008 | #213902
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £14.99 $19/€16 approx

About this book

Language: English with a multilingual abstract in English, German, French, Kurdish, and Arabic

Not too many cavers will seriously think about going to Iraq at the moment. However, there is a different part of Iraq existing where terrorists and kidnappings are unknown and where people are very hospitable to foreigners: the autonomous region of Kurdistan in the northeast of Iraq. The famous Shanidar Cave from where Neanderthal burials are known is located here. Due to favourable circumstances a Kurdish–German cave surveying project became reality in October/November 2007. This was carried out at the invitation of the Kurdish Minister of Tourism and had brilliant logistical support by the Museum of Antiquities in Sulaimania. Within 3 weeks 21 caves with a total passage length of 8115 metres were mapped, firmly establishing Kuna Kamtiar as the longest cave of Iraq currently 5060 m in length. The cave is a complicated network of fossil rift passages created by sulphurüc acid water. Another highlight was Tirshawaka, a limestone cave with a sulphurüc spring inside. The sulphurüc acid has dissolved the carbonate rock and has produced a crust of replacement gypsum that covers the cave’s roof and walls. The source of the sulphur is supposed to be an underground hydrocarbon deposit. Exploration of Tirshawaka was stopped in wide open river passage due to lack of time. In order to allow a better understanding of the very special mechanisms of sulphurüc cave development the present report also contains a general contribution of hypogenic sulphidic cave speleogenesis by Philippe Audra (University of Nice, France). The cave potential in northeast Iraq remains very high and the local authorities are keen to conduct further investigations. This report also provides a general overview about the caves outside the Kurdish regions of Iraq.


Abstract/Zusammenfassung/Résumé     5

Acknowledgements/Team Meübers     8
2.     Introduction     11
2.1     General remarks     11
2.2     History of karst and cave exploration in Iraq     11
2.3     Geological overview     12
2.3.1     Autonomous region of Kurdistan     12
2.3.2     Lowlands of Iraq     14
3.     Hypogenic sulphidic speläogenesis (by Philippe Audra)     15
4.     Cave descriptions     30
4.1     Autonomous region of Kurdistan     30
4.1.1     Sulaimania governorate     32
4.1.2     Kirkuk governorate     41
4.1.3     Other Kurdish governorates     45
4.2     Other cave regions of Iraq     51
4.2.1     Haditha area     51
4.2.2     Sulevani Plain     55
4.2.3     Central Iraq     55
5.     Conclusions     55
6.     References     56

Caves explored during the 2007 speleological project     59
Photo tables     60
Atlas sheets cave survey Kuna Kamtiar     66
Atlas sheets cave survey Sahra     71
General geological map of Iraq     76

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