Geology, geography and global energy

Scientific and Technical Journal

Characteristics of the largest karst cave of Inder karst district

2017. 4, pp. 101-113

Golovachev I.V. - C.Sc. in Geography, Astrakhan department of Russian geographical society, 16 Tatishchev st., Astrakhan, Russian Federation, 414025, bask_speleo@mail.ru

Ice Fern Cave is the most voluminous, extended and interesting karst cavity of Inder karst area. It is located on the north-eastern shore of Lake Inder in the Atyrau region of Kazakhstan Republic. The cave was discovered in May 2015 during the expedition work conducted by members of the section of speleology and karst studies of the Astrakhan branch of the Russian Geographical Society. It refers to caves of a corrosive-erosive type and is the first largest cave in the area. The cave has one entrance. It was opened for the first time and had not previously been known to the local population. During the period from 2015 to 2017, it conducted five research works, including: topographic, mineralogical, microclimatic, entomological and others. Ice Fern Cave is the only cave of the Northern Caspian with an underground perennial icing. In the cave formed a long-term and seasonal glaciation, which leads to the accumulation in the karst cavity of a specific type of deposits - cryogenic minerals. It also has a large species diversity of minerals newly formed in the cave. In the neutral microclimatic zone, at a positive temperature, calcite, gypsum, celestite, glauberite, mirabilite, tenardite, ulexite, and indium are formed in the cave. In the same cave were found new for science small beetles Cholevinae from the family Leididae. The article is devoted to the complex characterization of Ice Fern Cave and relies on collected expeditionary material.

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