Speleological project Dark Star. Study of the karst massif Baysun-Tau.

Baysun-Tau mountain range in Uzbekistan, south-west spur of the Hissar Range.

The length of the ridge is about 150 km, the maximum height is 4,424 m. The ridge is composed of limestones, sandstones, Mesozoic age clays. On the slopes of the ridge the Ak-Darya River begins. The lower parts of the slopes are covered with semi-desert vegetation and above there are forests of juniper  and alpine meadows.

Despite active exploration of the karst area by Russian speleologists, an extensive karst area remains poorly studied today.

The complexity of speleological research lies in the geographic remoteness of the karst area, complex logistics and significant absolute altitudes of over 3,000-3,500m on which the entrances to the caves are located.

On the mountain range are known large cave systems Boy-Bulok, Festivalny-Ledopadnaya (length 13 km, depth 625 m), Ural length 2,500 m, depth 565 m), Zaydman (length 1,500 m, depth 506 m) and others.

The Boy-Bulok cave is developed in limestones on the Baysun-Tau mountain ridge (the southern extension of the Hissar ridge in Uzbekistan, the deepest cave in Asia, the depth is 1,415 meters, the length is more than 14 km) .The entrance is in the crest of the ridge (below the edge of the ridge). The main development of the cave continues along the fall of limestone layers, the cave is complicated by small wells, ends with a siphon, and the cave is opened by the Ecketerburg cave explorers. 

Caves are formed in the limestones of the Mesozoic. According to geological conditions, the depth of caves in this area can reach more than 2,300 meters.

The Baysun-Tau ridge is located in the Surkhandarya physico-geographical region located in the very south of Uzbekistan.

Surkhandarya physico-geographical region is surrounded by mountains, and therefore cold air masses coming from the north and north-east do not penetrate here.

The climate in this physico-geographical region is dry and subtropical. In the plains the summer is very hot, dry and sunny, as temperatures approach the mountains, the temperature decreases. Winter is warm and short.

The average air temperature in July in the Denau area is +28 ° C, in Sherabad +32 C. In Termez in summer the temperature can reach + 50 ° C.

Winter in the plain part of the district is warm and short, and in the mountains it is colder the temperature is colder. January is the coldest month. The average temperature in January in Sherabad and Termez is + 2-3 ° C, in the mountains at an altitude of 2,500 – 3,000 m - 6 ° C.

Spring begins early, and soon the days become hot. Autumn is warm and usually dry.

Precipitation in the Surkhandarya physicogeographical region is uneven. Less than all in the south - an average of 133-230mm per year. On the mountain slopes of precipitation falls more - up to 500-650 mm, as the mountain becomes higher amount of precipitation increases. On the southern slopes of the Hissar Mountains precipitation can fall to 800 - 900 mm per year.

Most of the precipitation of the area occurs in the winter (46-48%) and in the spring (43-44%), for the autumn months - 8-10%, for summer - only 1-2%.

The karst area was most popular in the media because of the open entrance to the cave "Dark Star". For the first time the entrance was discovered in 1984 by Russian geologists, but the first group of British speleologists arrived in 1990. The entrance is located on the Khodja-Gur-Gur-Ata massif, which is part of the Baysuntau ridge (south-west spurs of the Hissar mountain range).

The entrance to the cave is located at an altitude of 3,700. The entrance height is 60 m, width is 7 m, which is located at a height of 160 m from the base of the wall. The cold walls of the cave are covered with icy crystal forms almost all along its length, there are also a lot of frozen lakes, the air temperature is noted from -2 to -5 degrees.

The study was continued by Russian speleologists in 2011. To date, the depth of the cave is - 850 meters. Further studies blocked the water siphon.

Different cave systems, discovered in previous expeditions, formed in limestone massifs, which are united in the mountain system of Baysuntau, can be connected and united among themselves in complex underground labyrinths. During the research of the Dark Star Cave, the speleologists combined several previously known caves into a single underground system with a length of 4.5 km.

The cave has several vertical wells with a depth of 20-30 meters, as well as a number of ledges up to 8-10 meters high. The main move represents one continuous narrow meander, along the bottom of which flows a stream.

But apart from Dark Star Cave, the Baysun-Tau mountain range remains quite promising for new speleological discoveries.

Our Foundation together with colleagues from Uzbekistan and Russia, plans to explore the cave systems of Baysun-Tau. This requires a good and physically trained team of speleologists.

The great absolute height of the area requires considerable physical effort and good organization to ensure the safety of speleological research.

It is possible that in this part of the Euro-Asian continent and the world, speleologists will study the deepest extended and most interesting cave system.

Caves of this region represent not only scientific interest, but also interest from the point of view of opportunities of stay and work of the person in extreme physiologically difficult and severe underground conditions.   

 Goals and objectives
 - Search for ways of connection of several caves on the Chulbair ridge to a single karst system, topographic survey and construction of      a 3d model of this system;
- Search for new entrances in the western part of the rocky cliff of the inclined plateau forming the Chulbair mountain range.
- Continuation of research in the cave Dark Star;
- Further assessment of the prospects for speleological research.

The cave explorers and scientists interested in the Baysun-Tau project can contact our fund.