Discoveries of new salt caves at Sedom salt diapir, Dead-Sea, Israel

Mt Sedom is an elongated salt diapir that exposed at the SW Dead-Sea shore. The diapir size is 11X1.5 km and it rises from -400 m (below sea level) up to -160. The area is extremely arid, with annual precipitation of 50 mm and annual precipitation-evaporation deficit of 2000 mm.

Since the early 80’ cave surveys were made at the mountain, mainly by the Israel Caves Research Centre (I.C.R.C). About 193 caves, with more than 35 km of passages, are known today at the mountain boundaries. 84 of the caves found since the beginning of the last decay, during a new survey of the mountain. Several known caves remapped, after a changes that happened since the original discovery or according to the better mapping tools that are in use today (Fig 1). That include also Malham cave, the longest salt cave in the world, with total length of ~10 km. Most caves are vadose allogeneic streams, with some rare phreatic chambers. The method during the 80’-90’ surveys, was follow streams with significant drainage basin. Therefore, small and local openings was missed. The current method includes a full survey of the entire area, as well as a revisit at known caves. The longest caves that mapped at the present work are as at the following table. The survey of Yonim cave is still in work and it seems that the cave will be the second longest in the mountain, with length estimation of ~2 km. 55 caves are still without map and some are also with no clear end. The following years will be dedicated for the survey of those caves, as well as continue with surface survey of the mountain side slopes.

List of the longest salt caves in Mt Sedom (longer than 400 m)

Cave name Length [m] Depth [m] Known /New discovery / Resurvey
Malham about 10 000 135 Resurvey
Yonim 1515 76 Resurvey
Sedom 1799 85 Known
Colonel 1448 127 Known
Zehuhit 1135 82 Known
Metzah 846 50 Known
Gulnazia 745 65 New discovery
Notza 731 91 Resurvey
Kirkas 671 50 Resurvey
Karbolet 576 37.5 Known
Peteq 508 55.5 Known
Konus 485 55 New discovery
Kolnoa 462 62 Known
Hanit 426 110 New discovery
Lehavim 402 22 Known
Mifratzim 402 76 Known

Figure 1: Resurvey of Notza cave, after a discovery of a new passage.

Section: Cave explorations and expeditions

Oral presentation, 25 minutes

Name, Family Name of the presenter

Boaz Langford
Israel Cave Research Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Institute of Earth Sciences
Jerusalem, Israel

Vladimir Buslov
Israel Cave Research Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Institute of Earth Sciences
Jerusalem, Israel

Yuri Lisovich
Israel Cave Research Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Institute of Earth Sciences
Jerusalem, Israel

Short bio of the presenter

Boaz Langford is a researcher in the in the Israeli Cave Research Center (I.C.R.C), Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Boaz work in cave surveys in Israel and other countries. In the last years Boaz cooperate with studies as: Hypogenic caves at the Negev desert, The longest salt cave on earth, The longest caves in Israel, Roman period refuge caves in central Israel, Ancient copper mines in the Arava Valley.

Vladimir Buslov and Yuri Lisovich are members in the in the Israeli Cave Research Center (I.C.R.C). They lead a filed surveys throughout Israel, mainly at Peki’in, Meron, Sedom and Mt Hermon regions. At the last decade they found more than 500 unknown caves, including the deepest and the most intriguing caves of Israel.


Frumkin, A., 1992. The karst system of Mount Sedom. (Hebrew): Jerusalem, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Jerusalem, 216 pp.

Frumkin, A., 2013. Salt karst. In: Shroder, J. (Editor in Chief), Frumkin, A. (Ed.), Treatise on Geomorphology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, vol. 6, Karst Geomorphology, pp. 407–424.

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