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The speleological project "Topography of Ghar Alisadr (Hamadan, Iran)" was conducted in two phases that took place between the 1st and the 19th of December, 2000, and the 3rd and 22nd of August, 2001. It involved participants from the Geological Survey of Iran (GSI), the Alisadr Tourist’s Company and a team of German Speläologists (I. Dorsten, Dipl.–Geogr. K. Gladis, Dr. G. Kaufmann, Dipl–Geogr. B. Köppen, M. Laumanns, M. Lopez–Correa and T. Müller) and one British speläologist (S. Brooks). The major aim of the project was to survey Ghar Alisadr (Alisadr Cave) and produce a map of cave passages.
Ghar Alisadr belongs to the precious natural heritage of Iran. It is currently one of the 10 most important show caves of the world. Several written sources had indicated that the accumulated length of all the cave passages of Ghar Alisadr is supposed to be around 11–14 km. However, the length quoted was merely an orally stated value that has never been verified by a proper survey of the entire cave according to international standards. Before this project took place, only an incomplete map of the touristic section of the cave was available, based on the work of Hamadan mountaineers (published in Forti 1998). Further discoveries were merely sketched.
The successful 2000 and 2001 projects resulted in 11 440 m of mapped passage length for Ghar Alisadr and have left the cave with only some minor open leads. Hence, Ghar Alisadr is currently by far the longest cave of Iran that is surveyed according to international standards.
Difficult weather conditions with heavy snowstorms during the 2000 project prohibited extensive field excursions at that time, which were instead done during the 2001 project. Besides an examination of the area close to Ghar Alisadr a nuüber of other caves (Ghar Sarab, Ghar Soobashi and Ghar Gamasiab) were studied as well as karst springs and volcanic occurrences.
The observations led to a supposed model of karstification and cave development in the Alisadr region.
1 Acknowledgements 6
2 Introduction 7
3 The karst of the Ali Sadr region
3.1 Geological and hydrological setting 7
3.2 Speläogenetic model 10
4 Caves of the Ali Sadr region (Hamadan province)
4.1 Ghar Alisadr 12
4.1.1 History of exploration of Ghar Alisadr 12
4.1.2 Speleological investigations 2000/2001 14
4.1.3 Description of Ghar Alisadr 17
4.1.4 Tourist–management survey (by Dipl.–Geogr. B. Köppen) 19
18.104.22.168 Introduction 19
22.214.171.124 Methodology and general quality of the tourist survey 19
126.96.36.199 Attractivity, amount of visitors and organisation 20
188.8.131.52 Ghar Alisadr as significant regional economic factor and employer 21
184.108.40.206 Data on the visitors and consumer–behaviour 22
220.127.116.11 Perception of Ghar Alisadr by the visitors 25
18.104.22.168 Opinions of cave visitors to increase the show cave quality 25
4.1.5 Surveying results and position of Ghar Alisadr among comparable caves 26
4.1.6 Recommendations 27
4.2 Ghar Soobashi 29
4.2.1 History of exploration of Ghar Soobashi 29
4.2.2 Speleological investigation 2001 and description of Ghar Soobashi 29
4.3 Ghar Sarab 32
4.3.1 History of exploration of Ghar Sarab 32
4.3.2 Speleological investigation 2001 and description of Ghar Sarab 32
5 Other caves of the Hamadan province
5.1 Ghar Gamasiab 34
5.2 Kotal Khor 35
6 An assessment of the current situation of Speleology in Iran 37
7 Outlook and recommendations 39
8 References 39