Language: English with trilingual abstract in English, German, and French
In 2002 the Atlas of the Great Caves and the Karst of Africa was released in this series (Laumanns 2002a, b, c). The atlas has been an unexpected success and became a speleological standard reference work that reached a reasonable distribution to serve for the further underground exploration of the “dark continent”. Of course, speleological exploration continues steadily, which consequently rise the question whether the 2002 Atlas of the Great Caves of Africa shall be considered to be a one-time effort or shall lead to a continuous source for providing information on caves and karst of Africa. And, if the latter alternative is chosen, what would be the best way to continue?
Intensive discussions with contributors resulted in a first update of the Africa Atlas that was released (Laumanns 2005). Following the views expressed the initial idea to release a complete 2nd edition of the atlas was waived for the time being because it would have had the disadvantage that customers would be forced to buy once again a number of books with many country chapters remaining unchanged or just marginally amended compared with the original atlas version. Consequently, it was decided to release updates of the atlas in the form of booklets that just cover African countries where substantial new information is available – e.g. new expedition reports, new surveys, or substantially more references. This will be the principal guideline for the mid–term future of the Atlas of the Great Caves and the Karst of Africa and I hope this will meet the interests of the caving public.
Herewith, the 2nd update of the Atlas is presented. The Atlas of the Great Caves and the Karst of Africa, as well as its updates, is based on the Atlas of the Great Caves of the World (Courbon et al. 1989), and on the Atlas des Cavités non Calcaires du Monde (Chübert & Courbon 1997). A lot of geological and tectonic information has been gathered from the excellent publication Limestone and Dolomite Resources of Africa (Bosse et al. 1996), which is a unique source of knowledge on African carbonate rocks.
For the 2nd update a brilliant publication by P. Van Straaten (2002) – called Rocks for Crops: Agrominerals of Subsaharan Africa – was also used to locate possible limestone and dolomite occurrences. The latter publication also mentions many bat guano deposits directly linked to caves. Furthermore a Geological Atlas of Africa has been published by Schlüter (2006), which will be used for future updates of the Atlas of the Great Caves and the Karst of Africa. The Speleological Abstracts, published annually by the UIS, served as source for publications after 1980. Furthermore, valuable information on the latest French speleological campaigns in African countries was taken from the annual reports of the “Commission des relations et expéditions internationales” (CREI) published by the Fédération Française de Spéléologie.
In the reference lists the articles that have been seen by the author are printed in italic letters. All north direction arrows on the cave maps refer to magnetic north.
Introduction / Einleitung 5
The 20 deepest and longest caves of Africa (30.07.2007) 10
Democratic Republic of the Congo 19
Sao Tome & Principe 151
General references 167