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Caves (Provinces) - Tehran

Ernest Geyer


Abstract:

2003 to 2005 the Verein für Höhlenkunde in Obersteier along with the Khaneye Koohnavardan-e-Tehran have been exploring and surveying Ghar-e-Roodafshan. The Roodafshan Entrance Hall (Chamber) with 168 m length, 94 m width, 40 m height and 11,395 m2 floor area is presently the biggest known documented cave chamber in Iran. The length of this spacious cave is 1502 m with a vertical range of -91 m.


Zusammenfassung:

Ghar-e-Roodafshan, Provinz Teheran, Iran. Die Ghar-e-Roodafshan war von 2003 bis 2005 Ziel von Forschungsfahrten des Vereins für Höhlenkunde in Obersteier. Gemeinsam mit dem Verein Khaneye Koohnavardan-e-Teheran wurde an der Vermessung der Höhle gearbeitet. Die Roodafshan Entrance Hall ist mit 168 m Länge, 94 m Breite, einer Höhe von bis zu 40 m und einer Grundfläche von 11.395 m2 der derzeit größte, dokumentierte Höhlenraum im Iran. Die Gesamtlänge dieser großräumigen Höhle beträgt 1502 m bei einer Niveaudifferenz von -91 m.


خلاصه

غار رودافشان، استان تهران، ایران. از سال ٢٠٠٣ تا ٢٠٠٥ غار رودافشان هدف تحقیق و بررسی »خانهٔ کوهنوردان تهران« و »کلوپ غارنوردان اوبراشتایر« قرار گرفت. تالار ورودی رودافشان با ۱٦٨ متر درازا، ۹۴ متر پهنا، ارتفاعی تا ۴۰ متر و مساحتی به اندازهء ۱۱٫٣۹٥ متر مربع تا کنون بزرگترین تالار غاری شناخته شده در ایران می باشد. اندازهء کلی این غار بالغ بر ۱٥۰٢ متر و اختلاف سطحی با ٦.۹١־ متر است.

Introduction:

Ghar-e-Roodafshan (Roodafshan Cave) is mentioned in the book “Ghar-haye Iran” written by Mostafa Selahi (1999) and a simple sketch gave general information about the layout of the cave passages. On 10th January 2003 members of the clubs Khaneye Koohnavardan-e-Teheran and Verein für Höhlenkunde in Obersteier (VHO, Austria) began the survey of the Ghar-e-Roodafshan entrance hall (Geyer & Geyer, 2003). On 8th October 2003 further cave passages leading from the large entrance chamber were surveyed and one year later, 25th September 2004, the survey of the main passage was completed. The last surveying trip to the cave was made on 2nd December 2005 when the side passages in the cave were surveyed. The survey team included: Bahram Shokoohivand, Mehran Hamidi, Shayan Zarkeshan, Hamid Kiani Moghaddam along with Taraneh and Ernest Geyer. Because of the huge dimensions of the passages and in particular the entrance chamber local people are undertaking work to make the cave into a show cave.

Location:

The Ghar-e-Roodafshan is located in the Roodafshan valley that lies to the east of Tehran, on the main route from Tehran to Firoozkooh and near to the small village Roodafshan. Although the roads in the Roodafshan valley aren’t tarmaced access with normal cars is possible. A small walkway leads from the village to the impressive entrance doline, which lies at 1935 m above the sea level.

Cave description:

The cave is formed within a distinctive geological breakdown area, which can be observed up to the summit region of the mountain in which the cave is found and leads directly under the main ridge of the massif. The cave is north south oriented and fissure controlled. The entrance doline is 100 m long and 46 m wide

Impressive entrance doline of Ghar-e-Roodafshan. Photo: Ernest Geyer

A well-maintained walkway leads into the cave. The entrance to the Roodafshan Entrance Hall is 62 m wide and 12 m high and the floor slopes into the mountain at an inclination of -30°

 

Entrance of the Roodafshan Entrance Hall - 62 m wide and 12 m high. Photo: Ernest Geyer

The Roodafshan Entrance Hall has a length of 168 m, a width of 94 m and a height of up to 40 m with a projected floor area of 11395 m2. It is currently (March 2010) the largest known cave chamber in Iran. The floor area is covered with detritus and big boulders. Because of the position the hall is lit by the daylight and it is possible to visit much of this part of the cave without the need of lights. The vertical range from the entrance doline to the deepest point of the hall, a flat silt basement, is 80 m. On the ceiling of the hall some Pigeons roost and nest.

In the lower, left-hand area of the entrance hall a side passage connects to a 5 m deep shaft after which it continues for another 35 m before becoming to narrow. The main passage is spacious and leads deeper into the mountain. Shortly after the place named Stone Fence the main passage divides into two. One passage ends after 45 m. The second passage continues to the Stalagmite Chamber that is 60 m long, 25m wide and up to 9 m high. Several stalagmites of up to 3 m in height, covered with cauliflower shaped calcite formations are to be found here, that decorate the chamber. All except one of the side passages are closed by calcite or become to narrow. This area at minus 91 m from the entrance is the deepest point of the cave (survey point 165). Within the Stalagmite Chamber a side passage that is slightly hidden starts at survey point 35 and continues more or less parallel to the main passage. After 85 m this passage divides and one passage leads back to the entrance hall and ends after 40 m in a calcite wall. The second passage continues over a 6 m shaft to the White Chamber, the walls of which are covered with white calcite formations.

The main passage continues from the Stalagmite Chamber to a section of passage known as the Blind Alley and beyond this to the Column Passage. The Blind Alley has many side passages all of which either become too narrow or are closed by calcite. The Column Passage is characterized with calcite covered walls and columns

The main passage in the area of the Column Passage. Photo: Ernest Geyer

The main passage continues, still spacious, to reach a height of up to 12 m and a width of up to 20 m. Worthy of mention is the Anahita Tempel, a calcite covered side passage with a small dripping water supplied calcite pool. This area of the cave is named after Anahita is a Persian divinity, which stands for water and fertility. The left wall in the rear part of the main passage is formed in an area of well-defined strata/beddings with an inclination of about 45°. The end of the main passage is formed by a huge bolder choke in the Bat Chamber. This chamber is 40 m long, 25 m wide and up to 6 m high. On 25th September 2004 - eleven bats were observed on the ceiling of this chamber. A side passage on the left side of the chamber leads to a 15 m deep shaft, which marks the end of the cave. A by-pass to this boulder choke couldn’t be found and in spite of the large size of the cave passages a light air draught was consistently noticed in the cave, which implies that a big cave system may continue behind the bolder choke. The whole cave is relatively dry and there are no active streams with only sporadically dripping water and active calcite formations found in the cave. A key characteristic of this cave is the extensive cauliflower calcite formations that cover of the cave walls and stalagmites.

1775 m of passage has been mapped in the cave and the actual cave length is 1502 m. The vertical range is 91 m. The maximum horizontal extension is 470 m; the north-south extension is 467 m and the east-west extension is 185 m

 

Plan and section of Ghar-e-Roodafshan. Map: Ernest Geyer

Prospects:

A potential for finding other caves in this area is promising and from the valley two cave entrances can clearly be seen in the mountain walls, these would merit a closer investigation. Further surface reconnaissance, with the aim to check the area above the Ghar-e-Roodafshan as well the higher region of the mountain will be a focus for further speleological exploration in this area.

Literature:

- GEYER, T., GEYER, E. (2003): Forschungen im Iran,

Ghar-e-Roodafshan, in: Mitt. d. Vereins für Höhlenkunde in Obersteier, 22: 42-43.

 

- GEYER, E. (2006): Forschungsprojekt Ghar-e-Roodafshan,

Provinz Teheran, Iran, in: Die Höhle, 57 (1-4): 110-114.

 

-RAEISI, E., LAUMANNS, M. (2003): Cave Directory Iran,

Berliner Höhlenkundliche Berichte, Band 10.

 

- SELAHI, M., (1999): Ghar-haye Iran, Ghar-e-Roodafshan,

Page: 51-57. (in Farsi)