Language: English with trilingual abstract in English, German, and French
Before the publication of Dreybrodt & Laumanns (2005a), which summarises the exploration conducted between 2000 and 2005, northern Laos (except of the Vang Vieng area) was virtually unknown to speleologists. Only a few reconnaissance projects were conducted prior to 2000 in the province of Luang Phrabang. The afore-mentioned publication provided information on 24,3 km of cave passages from 68 caves.
In the framework of the “Northern Lao–European Cave Project” (www.laoscaveproject.de) the investigations were continued in 2006–2011 (Dreybrodt & Laumanns 2008, Dreybrodt & Laumanns 2010b, Dreybrodt & Laumanns 2011). This brought the total number of explored caves to 196 with 92 km of passages, including the currently 3rd longest cave of Laos (Tham Chom Ong System, Oudomxay province) 17 150 m in length.
The two expeditions of the Project in 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of systematic cave documentation in northern Laos and pushed the total length of explored passage to over 100 km. The publication in front of you reports on the findings of the years 2012 and 2013 (Houaphan, Luang Nam Tha and Luang Prabang provinces) and comprises descriptions of 95 caves with a total of 25 km of new passages.
Overall, 118 km of cave passages from 295 caves has been surveyed and published to date from northern Laos (excluding Vang Vieng and Kasi).
Abstract / Zusammenfassung / Résumé 5
1. Acknowledgements / Team Members 6
2. Introduction 10
2.1 History of speleological exploration in Laos 10
2.2. Geological overview 15
3. Cave descriptions 17
3.1 General remarks 17
3.2 New caves of the Houaphan province 17
3.2.1 Areas H 1–6: Vieng Xai and Xam Neua districts 23
3.3 New caves of the Luang Nam Tha province 90
3.3.1 Areas LN 1–3: Vieng Phouka district 90
3.4 New caves of the Luang Prabang province 98
3.4.1 Areas LP 1–2: Muang Ngoi and Nong Khiaw districts 98
4. Conclusions 102
5. References 104
Caves explored during the 2012 and 2013 speleological projects 111
Photo tables 115
Atlas sheets cave survey Tham Doun Mai 119
Atlas sheets cave survey Tham Sop Koup 131
Atlas sheets cave survey Tham Fam 135
Atlas sheets cave survey Tham Nam Oogh 140