Due to the unsuitable geology – limestone is as good as absent – Mizoram was not considered as a promising caving area (Gebauer 1996, 1997). In Mizo folklore, legends and myths, of course, all sorts of real, fictive and would–be caves played an important role since time immemorial. All the known caves of Mizoram are of exceptional origin. Generally said, there are two distinct modes of cave development: First and most widespread, by mass wasting (solution, abrasion) and second, by mass dislocation (gravitation, tectonics). Many caves are exclusively of tectonic origin and result from tension cleavage of the compact host rocks, which are sandwiched in between shales. As far as currently known (May 2001) there exists not a single true karst cave. The only known river cave (Bak Puk, South Lungrang) is predominantly a result of piping failure.
The longest caves of Mizoram are (accumulated passage length longer than 100 m):
181 m BAK PUK (South Lungrang)
162 m KHUANGCHERA PUK
119 m TLUANGTEA PUK
110 m RALVAWNG PUK
The deepest caves of Mizoram are (vertical range greater than 20m):
170 m PAKAW PUK
126 m LEITLA PAWP
125 m BAK PUK (South Lungrang).
The cave at the highest elevation is Pukthim (1650 m a.s.l).
Only due to the keen interest of Betsy Chhakchhuak, Neil Sootinck and Wing Commander J. Lalhmingliana (Director, Directorate of Sports & Youth Services, Aizawl) two excursions were pushed through in 1999 and 2001. These yielded unexpectedly successful results, both sportive and scientific.
1999 January: Within a few days long distances were covered on sometimes very bad roads to visit, explore and map seven caves, rock shelters and holes near Reiek (Aizawl district), Kawlkulh, Biate, Champhai and Farkawn (Aizawl East). The longest was Khuangchera Puk (162.4 m long, 10.4 m deep), shortly followed by Tluangtea Puk (119.3 / –18.6 m) and Ralvawng Puk (109.7 / +4.5 m). Smaller caves were Lamsial Puk (9 m) and Saundung Puk (25 m). Also visited was Kungawhri Puk (an impenetrable hole in the earth) and Far Puk (a shallow rock shelter).
23rd April — 1st May 2001: Within a period of seven days a distance of 1200 km was covered to visit, explore and map eight caves near Lunglei, Lungrang and South Lungleng (Lunglei district). The longest cave found was the Bak Puk near South Lungrang (181 m long, –24.8m deep), the deepest Leitla Pawp (–28 m), and the one at the highest known elevation in Mizoram (1680 m a.s.l.) was Puk Thim (30 m / –7m). Other caves were Phunchawng Puk (6 6m / –11 m), Lunghmingthang Puk (30 m/ –7 m) and the Cave of Ramthangaka (12 m). Also visited were Pukpuia and Milu Puk, both shallow rock shelters and the lower entrance area of the (vertically!) 170 m deep Pakaw Puk (previously explored and measured by members of the Sports & Youth Services).
1 Introduction : Geography, Geology 4
2 Caves of Mizoram 9
2.1 History of cave & karst exploration in Mizoram 10
2.2 Mizoram cave directory 11
3 Quick cave reference list (brief characteristics etc.) 33
4 Acknowledgements 36
5 Bibliography 33
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