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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 11 Jul, 2012
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That lava karst is a non-karst term. subsurface openings formed in lava flows due to outflow of liquid lava from beneath a solidified crust or due to gas blisters. tubes or tunnels are formed with such pseudokarst features as lava stalactites and also collapse structures and basins of closed drainage. lava karst does not arise through solution of the rock by circulating water and thus is not a true karst [20]. synonyms: (french.) pseudo-karst; (german.) (vulkanischer karst), lava- karst, pseudokarst; (greek.) pseudokarst; (italian.) pseudocarsismo vulcanico; (spanish.) volcanokarst (general), tubo volcanico (tube, tunnel), jameo (collapse structure), malpais (topographic feature similar to lapies); (turkish.) lav karsti, a ldatici karst. see also lava cave; pseudokarst.?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

What is Karstbase?



Browse Speleogenesis Issues:

KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

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Kuzgun Cave and its Context: the first super-deep cave in the Aladaglar Massif, Turkey

A brief description of the Aladaglar karst, its settings and the Kuzgun Cave (-1400m); Aladaglar DEMs, cave topo and photos

Kuzgun Cave and its Context: the first super-deep cave in the Aladaglar Massif, Turkey

Klimchouk,A., Nazik,L., Bayari,S. Tork,K. and Kasjan,Yu.

Aladaglar Karst & Cave Research Project

“The Call of the Abyss” Project

General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration, Turkey
Hydrogeological Engineering Section of Hacettepe University, Turkey
Ukrainian Speleological Association
Institute of Geological Sciences, Natl. Academy of Sciences, Ukraine


Kuzgun Cave. Profile Kuzgun Cave. Plan Aladaglar massif, view from East
Aladaglar and Kuzgun Photo Gallery
Photos by Alexey Koptchinsky, Sergey Ljakhovets and Alexander Klimchouk
Aladaglar massif, view from South

Aladaglar Massif

Aladaglar is a huge limestone massif located in the Eastern Taurids Range within Adana-Kayseri-Nide provinces of Turkey. The massif covers an area of 800 km2 and the local relief extends between 400m and 3750m elevations. The associated aquifer covers an area of about 1900 km 2.

In 2001-2004 extensive field investigations of karst and caves have been carried out in Aladaglar under the joint Turkish-Ukrainian "Aladaglar Karst and Cave Research Project" (Photo 01), a part of the "Call of the Abyss Project". These studies resulted in the discovery and exploration of about 150 caves, including the remarkable 1400m-deep Kuzgun Cave, and provided new data and insight into regional karst evolution, hydrogeology and geomorphology. This article introduces a series of forthcoming publications to present these results.


The overall tectonics is determined by the nappes structure. Autochtonous carbonate formations of Jurassic and Cretaceous age crop out in the eastern part of the area. The main part of the massif is allochtonous, composed by Triassic limestones, the largest carbonate nappe units (Siyah Aladag, Beyaz Aladag and intermediate nappes). An ophiolite nappe conceals the boundary between the allochtonous and autochtonous units along the eastern side (Photo 02), although hydrochemical and isotopic studies suggest that hydrogeologic connection exists between the high-altitude recharge areas on the allochtonous carbonates and large springs outflowing from the autochtonous formation at the main erosion base level of Zamanti River and its tributaries. Further details of local geology and hydrogeology can be found in Bayari and Gurer (1993a,b) and in Tekeli, Aksay, Urgun and Isik (1983).


The Aladaglar massif is elongated from north to south, being limited on the west by the regional Ecemis sinistral Fault and on the east by Zamanti River (Photo 03). The overall morphology is well illustrated by the digital elevation models (view-from-South and view-from-East) produced from the GIS "Aladaglar Karst" developed during this study. Morphologically, the northern, central and southern sectors can be distinguished, with the local relief increasing from north to south.

The high-altitude part of the Aladaglar massif has been severely glaciated during Pleistocene. Glacial landforms suggest the existence of numerous episodes of glacial advances and retreats. Cosmogenic 36Cl dating of morainic boulders in the Hacer trough valley suggests that the most recent remarkably extensive glaciation occurred between 9,500 and 7,500 years BP (Zreda et al., 2005). Glacial trough valleys and separating ridges dominate the relief of the Aladag central part. Common glacial valleys extend from source areas at 3100-3300m to altitudes of about 1900-2300m, although some large valleys (such as Hacer, Photo 04) cut as deep as up to 1100m elevation. In the valley bottoms, large and deep (up to 100m) closed glaciokarstic depressions are common, which drained sub-glacial flow into the karst system, separated by prominent glacially eroded rock hills (roches moutonnes; Photo 05, Photo 06 and Photo 07) and bars. Ridges and tops that separate glacial valleys rise up to 3400-3750m. Elongated fragments of gentle-sloping surfaces, probably the remnants of a pre-glacial levelling karst surface, can be distinguished along many ridges, at their southern flanks (Photo 07b and Photo 07c). Ridges, especially those of sub-longitudinal orientation, are asymmetric in cross-section, with steep and vertical northern faces and more gentle southern slopes.

Glacial valleys morphed during the recent glaciation had entrenched into the already intensely karstified massif. Fresh rocky surfaces of glacial scouring cut and expose numerous well-formed shafts and caves of pre-glacial generations. However, while in vertical rock faces "unwalled" shafts and passage entrances are well preserved (Photo 08 and Photo 08b), on subhorizontal surfaces large amount of rock shatter, intensely generated by strong contemporary physical weathering, plugs and conceals most of caves. In the high altitude valleys and plateau of glacial source areas, recent glacial scouring of prominent mesoforms on the one hand, and filling of negative mesoforms by weathering shatter on the other hand, makes appearance of karstified surfaces generally smoother that it can be typically seen in lower-altitude Alpine karst massifs (Photo 09, Photo 10, Photo 11 and Photo 12). Hence, karstic morphology is somewhat concealed as compared to typical Alpine karsts.

The area of the remarkable karst landscape, resembling polygonal karst, with numerous steep-walled depressions, pits and deep karrens, lies along the eastern flanks of the massif, making a ledge at elevations of 1700-2300m (Photo 13). In the north-east of Aladaglar and in its southern flank, this type of karst is immediately adjacent to the retreating cover of ophiolitic mlange (Photo 14) and Miocene conglomerates.


The high-altitude part of Aladaglar is assumed to be the main recharge areas of karst hydrologic systems that discharge as large springs at the foot of the massif (Photo 15, Photo 16).

Mature karst springs (Yerkpr 3, Yerkpr 1 and 2, Gksu, Kapuzbasi and Barazama) are grouped in four main localities on the eastern flank of the massif, at elevations ranging between 400 and 1100m respectively (see DEM-view-from-East and DEM-view-from-South). The combined average discharge from the massif to the eastern flank totals about 32 m 3/s, while the individual springs (groups) average discharges vary from 2,6 to 14,2 m3/s. There are also some substancial springs on the western flank of Aladaglar. Such a high degree of flow concentration, together with some peculiarities of groundwater regime and hydrogeochemistry, suggest presence of well-developed conduit systems in the depths of the massif. Structural and hydrogeochemical considerations indicate that the groundwater flow recharged from the high-altitude karst surfaces drains to the eastern flank springs (Bayari & Gurer, 1993). Recent hydrogeochemical studies during this project gave further insight into the aquifer structure and behaviour (Ozyurt, 2005).

The depth potential for a karst groundwater circulation system, the important characteristic for evaluation of the potential for a direct cave exploration, is thus well above 2000 meters, being up to 2500-2900m in the best cases. The latter figures suggest that Aladaglar may contain the deepest karst hydrologic system in the world that would supersede the currently deepest proven system Cheve in Mexico with its depth of about 2500m.

Karst Study and Cave Exploration Challenges in the Aladaglar High Mountains

Preliminary studies and reconnaissance observations in the Aladaglar massif, made before 2000, suggested that karst systems here had the complex multiphase evolution guided by neotectonic processes, paleo hydrothermal activity, erosional network development and glaciation-deglaciation history. Further inferences on the karst evolution and karst hydrology of the massif required a speleological outlook, but cave data on Aladaglar had been scarce.

In 1992-1993 the speleological club MAD (Magara Arastirma Dernegi) from Ankara explored several caves in the low-altitude (below 2000m) north-east outskirts of the massif, including Subatagi Cave (1700m a.s.l., depth 640m), the deepest cave in the area until recently. In 1992 French expedition (CRS Rhone-Alpes) made a reconnaissance trip across the high central part of the Aladaglar massif but it did not receive any continuation. The French cavers also explored Goksu cave resurgence located along Zamanti River at 650 m elevation (about 100m long upstream exploration in a high-flow passage to a siphon) and several caves at altitudes of about 1600m in the autochtonous limestones of the Divrik Mountain. There were some reconnaissance trips of Italian cavers to the area, but they also were not continued.

Cave explorations at the altitudes above the "deep caves and Alpine Karst optimum" range (approximately 1600-2600m), pose the known problems. These problems are chiefly related to the glacial scouring of karst surfaces during Pleistocene glaciations, resulting in destruction of functional relationships between a karst landscape and cave systems, and in plugging cave entrances by clastic materials. In the conventional Alpine karst altitudes, the modern (post-glacial) dissolution is intense enough to restore some of the landscape/caves relationships during the post-glacial time, and to partially clean out debris filling in the near-surface zone. At the altitudes above 2800m, contemporary periglacial conditions do not favour intense dissolution but do favour strong physical weathering and massive shatter production, which further contributes to the blockage of cave entrances. Open-mouthed shafts and pits, so numerous on conventional Alpine karst massifs, are rare in Aladaglar. But even if found, they are commonly blocked by massive snow-and-ice accumulations (e.g. Bayari et al., 2003).

So, it was obvious that realization of the enormous general potential of the Aladaglar massif for deep caves is a very challenging task that would require development and implementation of special search and exploration strategy and methods, as well as of specific cooperation formats.

Aladaglar Karst & Cave Research Project

The Aladaglar Karst and Cave Research Project has been initiated in 2000 by Dr. Serdar Bayari, Dr. Lutfi Nazik, Koray Tork and Dr. Alexander Klimchouk with the twofold aim: 1) to advance knowledge of evolution and hydrogeology of the Aladaglar karst through a combination of speleological explorations and special geomorphological and hydrogeochemical studies and, 2) to challenge a task to discover and explore super-deep caves in this high-altitude karst. The idea was to combine the special expertise, cave exploration experience and resources of the involved scholars and institutions General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA), Department of Geological Engineering of the Hacettepe University, Institute of Geological Sciences of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and the Ukrainian Speleological Association. The challenge to discover and explore super-deep caves in this particularly difficult environment of the high mountain karst could be faced only through systematic speleological investigations in the area. Large and deep caves, if discovered, together with a wealth of regional speleological data, would give indispensable information to advancing key scientific issues of the Aladaglar karst, - its evolution and hydrogeology. In turn, special geomorphological and hydrogeochemical studies would help to develop more efficient strategy and methods for search and exploration of caves. The cave explorations under the Aladaglar project were integrated into the "Call of the Abyss" project searching to overpass the 2000m depth mark in caves.

The field activities under the Aladaglar Karst & Cave Research Project included a reconnaissance trip in October 2000 (10 days, 6 members) and a series of large month-long expeditions in August 2001 (26 members), August 2002 (28 members), July 2003 (26 members) and July 2004 (30 members). The expeditions were composed of cavers from the Ukrainian Speleological Association, MAD and HUMAK speleological clubs of Ankara and karst specialists of MTA and Hacettepe University.

Cave Search and Exploration in Aladaglar: Approach, Methods and Progress in 2001-2004

Search for caves

The core part and the first stage of speleological investigations under the project was a search for caves, and their standard documentation. A search strategy was developed to account for the above-mentioned specific characteristics of the Aladaglar high mountain karst. It included the following basic principles:

1) Thorough and systematic total search on an area-by-area basis, with special attention to small openings and cracks that have more chances to remain unplugged than large eye-catching entrances (Photo 17).

2) The search should be focused on specific geomorphological situations favouring to preserve caves unplugged and hence accessible, e.g. on tops of ridges and their edges, internal prominent rock hills (roches moutonnes) within glacial trough valleys and other places aloof from debris flows, in the vertical rock faces, etc (Photo 19, Photo 19 and Photo 20). Search focus on "hydrologically functionless" areas confronts the conventional caver's wisdom but it accounts for the specific effects of glacial scouring and subsequent periglacial conditions.

3) All openings, including sinkholes and blocked pits, should be checked for air draft. Strong and cold draft, even if it blows from a seemingly impassable boulder choke, is a good indication of the connection to a large system and signifies that the obstacles should be further negotiated using special efforts and methods (digging through fillings boulder chokes).

4) Search for caves should be accompanied by a complete documentation of inspected objects and their tie-in to a large-scale map.

5) Special geomorphological and structural investigations and mapping, aimed to reveal factors that favour cave location and accessibility, should accompany search efforts to give directions to areas of closest attention.

Cave inventory

This strategy has proven its efficiency. The expeditions in 2001, 2002 and 2003 resulted in exploration of almost 150 caves with the total depth of 5240m, not counting the deepest Kuzgun Cave. Of them 32 caves are deeper than 50m and 12 caves are deeper than 100m. Fifty-seven explored caves are located above 3000m altitude, the highest entrance being located at 3410m. The cave inventory is managed using the SpeleoBase program and the cave data are geocoded and integrated into GIS "Aladaglar Karst". The 3D models of Aladaglar that illustrate this article and show locations of caves, are outputs of this GIS (see DEM-view-from-East and DEM-view-from-South). Cave locations on the models are shown by small dots of violet, red and yellow colour.

A thorough and systematic search, exploration and documentation of caves laid a basis for the Aladaglar cave inventory, which serves to various scientific needs as well as to the task of revealing of deep cave systems.

Breaking to depth

Systematic exploration of caves in Aladaglar has revealed several problems, specific to high altitude karst, in accessing deep systems. Some of them were foreseen while others were realized in the course of the work.

The first set of problems is attributive to pits and shafts opened to the surface: their heavy blockage by debris plugs formed due to the high intensity of contemporary physical weathering, and by ice plugs formed due a long term accumulation of snow. Another typical case of blockage is plugging of open pits by show-ice accumulations (Photo 19). The variance of the above problems is plugging of pits by a kind of cemented diamicts deposited from melting at the base of accumulated ice columns that contained weathering clasts. This is a newly recognized type of cave deposits that deserves a characterization in a separate paper. Single pits of varying depths constitute a majority of documented caves because of various types of blockages at their bottoms. The above-mentioned focus in the search strategy on the specific geomorphic situations that favour to preserve caves unplugged, helped to find several caves among the many explored where it was possible to go farther than the first pit.

The second problem is that inclined passages ("meanders") between pits at depths up to approximately 200m in larger caves are commonly critically narrow and not penetrable. This is because flow concentration in such depth interval is not sufficient to develop wider meanders. In result of rapid uplift of the Aladaglar massif during Pleistocene, cave streams downcut quickly forming high (few to 20-30m) but narrow (10-30cm) meanders. In this situation, breaking into a deep system is possible only through a hard work on enlarging a passable way through such narrow passages in most promising caves.

After two expeditions devoted to the systematic search (in 2001 and 2002), several caves have been selected as targets for special efforts during the expedition of 2003 to free up narrow meanders and break to depth. In the Kemikli trough valley such caves were 185m deep Gulcitay Cave with the entrance at the altitude 3050m (Photo 20), and 125m deep Kosmodrom Cave located at 3010m. Two weeks of hard digging efforts gave slow advance in both caves but in the middle of the expedition another large cave has been discovered and captured all attention.

The cave, named Kuzgun (=Crown's cave in Turkish), had been found on a small ledge near the top of an elongated rock hill in the middle section of the Kemikli valley, at the altitude of 2840m (the location is indicated by a large red dot on the DEM-view-from-South, see also Photo 02 and Photo 18). The cave was a complex structure consisting of several generations of cavities. It provided an easy access to depth of -180m where narrow meanders suspended the exploration. The remaining two weeks of the 2003 expedition had been spent to free up these meanders. The major breakthrough had been made two days before the end of the expedition. During the remaining very last day the cave was explored in a single trip to the depth of -400m. Greater dimensions of the deeper part of the cave, several effluences and tributaries left unexplored, strong air draft and the open continuation with a large pit ahead - all suggested that one of large cave systems of Aladaglar had been eventually opened. Further exploration of Kuzgun Cave had been left for the subsequent year.

Expedition of July 2004: Kuzgun Cave

Kuzgun Cave was a main target of the project expedition in July 2004. During 20 days of operations in the cave it has been pushed from -400m to -1400m, possibly the greatest depth advance ever made during a single expedition. The cave became the second (after Evren Gunay Mehmed Ali Dudeni in the western part of Taurus, pushed in August 2004 by Turkish and Bulgarian cavers from 1377m 1429m) deepest cave in Turkey and in Asia.

Kuzgun Cave morphometry:
- Depth: 1400m (of them 1000m surveyed in the 2004 expedition)
- Length: 3187m (of them 2075m surveyed in the 2004 expedition)
- Total vertical length of the survey network: 2080m (of them 1350m surveyed in the 2004 expedition)

Kuzgun Cave has been explored and surveyed to the depth of 1400m in the main branch, and to the depth of 600m in the Veterok branch (see Kuzgun profile) that deviates from the main one at 480m. In both branches several open leads remained unexplored. The exploration in 2004 has been stopped due to the lack of time and equipment.

Kuzgun is a truly remarkable and important cave that integrates at least three generations of cavities:

1. Pre-glacial vadose invasion cave consisting of vertical pits and shafts (cascades of pitches) alternating with inclined meanders, - a typical alpine cave system (Photo 21). Pitch-ramp morphological assemblages, characteristic for many alpine caves in rapidly uplifting mountains, are clearly identifiable and common in the cave. At the depths below 120-140m the pre-glacial shafts bear clear signs of active contemporary dissolution. The entrance is a vertical pit of this generation, decapitated by glacial scouring at the top of a rocky hill (Photo 18). In the plan and profile this genera of cavities is shown by a yellow-pale (above 400m) and white (below 400m) backgrounds. The cave split into several branches in the meandering interval of -480 -550m. The general progression of the main branch is very steep, with several intervals of gentle gradient at -180, -480-500-550m, -670-700m, -1060m and -1100-1110m. The nature of these "tiers" is structural rather than evolutionary.

2) Ancient (Late Miocene?) cavities represented by large steeply inclined chambers with massive flowstone formations of various ages (Photo 22 and Photo 23). A large series of cavities of this genus was truncated by the vadose shaft system at depth of 130m. This series, called French Kiss (shown by a light-brown background on the cave plan and profile), has a vertical extend of 140m. It is likely that a chamber that lies between -300 and -330m, also belongs to this type.

3) Presumably hydrothermal cavities (shown by a pink background on the plan and profile) represented by a series of chambers of considerable sizes encountered by the invasion system at the depth interval of 150170m, and by several seemingly isolated pockets of few decimetres to few meters in cross-section, truncated by the vadose shafts at various depth. A smooth ceiling morphology with domes and cupolas, dark red-brown thin (up to 0.5cm) ferriferous crust on dissolution surfaces and a characteristic crust of palisade-like calcite crystals, that almost completely lines such chambers and pockets, are indicative of cavities of this type. The crystal crust is 10-20cm thick and brown-reddish in colour. There are also boxwork-like formations in some places. Hydrothermal cavities are probably truncated by the vadose system in many places, in the upper parts of passages and shafts, as suggested by the presence of fragments of the crystal crust on the floor in many localities.

In the plan view (see Kuzgun plan) the cave displays a complex structure up to depth of about 500m. Starting from -480m, the main branch stretches generally to east, along the glacial valley axis, zigzagging between NEE and SEE directions. However, the Veterok branch displays a separate trend to south-east.

The upper part of the cave (above -400m) contains an enormous variety of secondary formations, such as various types of diversely coloured stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones of several generations, helictites and crystals (Photo 24, Photo 25, Photo 26, Photo 27, Photo 28 and Photo 29). Among crystals, there are remarkable large frost-like assemblages of presumably aerosol origin (Photo 30, Photo 31, Photo 32, Photo 33 and Photo 34). There are boxwork-type formations and formations of still unidentified types (for instance, Photo 35, Photo 36, Photo 37, Photo 38 and Photo 39), as well as some unusual sediments. Ongoing special investigations of mineral formations and sediments of Kuzgun Cave will give much information about speleogenesis and evolution of karst in the region.

Preliminary conclusions

The Aladaglar Karst and Cave Research Project has proven to be very successful in terms of both cave exploration and studies of karst hydrogeology, geomorphology and evolution. A scientific approach to cave search and exploration, adjusted to specific features of glacial and post-glacial geomorphic processes in high mountains and combined with a well trained and organized caving force, has allowed discovering a deep cave system in the conditions previously regarded as unfavorable, if not hopeless, for finding deep caves. Together with regional cave inventory information, special studies in Kuzgun Cave will provide a clue to solving major problems of karst evolution in the Aladaglar mountains.

Considering huge general potential for deep caves in Aladaglar, Kuzgun Cave has very good chances to become the second deepest cave in the world, if not the second cave on Earth deeper than 2000m.


We should acknowledge remarkable enthusiasm, dedication, persistence and faith to the success of many cavers involved into the recent cave explorations in Aladaglar: Fedotov Dmitry, Ghuravel Valentyn, Ilingin Evgeny, Ishchenko Feliks, Kadubenko Oleksandr, Karpechenko Oleksandr, Khapov Oleksandr , Kondrat'ev Al'bert, Kopchynskiy Alexey, Kovalyov Andriy, Lyakhovets Sergiy, Markovskoy Kyrylo, Medvedyeva Kateryna, Romanenko Andriy, Romanov Yevgen, Ryazanova Olga , Samokhin Gennadiy, Shevchenko Olena, Sokolchuk Ihor, Solovyov Mykolay, Sytsykhovskiy Dmytro, Tivilev Eugeny, Tsebenko Oleg, Tymoshevska Yuliya, Verchenko Andriy, and Yablokova Natalia (Ukraine); Baydar Tarik, Coskuner Turkay, Erdogan Alisar, Ozel Emrah, Ozel Emrullah, Ozyurt Nur, Pekkan Emrah, Altay Birhan and Sahin Cumhur (Turkey); Taylor Marcus and Wiseman Andrew (Britain). See Photo 40 and Photo 41 members of 2003 and 2004 expeditions).

The studies and explorations in Aladaglar were supported by the General Directory of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA), Department of Geological Engineering of the Hacettepe University (Ankara) and Institute of Geological Sciences of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (Kiev). Mr. Emrullah Ozel and Dr. Nur Ozyurt provided invaluable contribution to both organization and field studies. Certain expeditions of the project in 2001-2004 had been partially sponsored by the Ukrferry Company (Odessa, Ukraine), Motor Sich (Zaporozhje, Ukraine), Onyx Company (Simferopol, Ukraine), Leica Geosystems (Switzerland), Kim Cunningham's Foundation (USA). The project expedition in 2004 had been partially sponsored by the National Geographic Society (USA).


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