Karst and Speleology in the South Caucasus of Armenia

In the years 2016-2017-2018, an international team of cavers and researches of the Armenian Speleological Society and the CIRS – Hyblean Center of Speleo-Hydrogeological Research of Ragusa, Italy, carried out three geokarst campaigns on some areas of the south Caucasus of Armenia.

The researches concerned both the study of the surface geomorphological karst aspects (such as dolines, relict karst features and karren), and the exploration and survey of karst and volcanic caves.

In 2016 the aforementioned researches involved the karst area of Eghegnadzor – Vaots dzor Marz province; in 2017 the northeastern sector of the country, namely the karst region of Ijevan, including the southern slopes of the Ijevan Mountain Range and the Western Hakhum Mountain Range, as well as the volcanic District of Lori; in 2018, the third phase finally took care of the Ararat Region and the Sisian volcanic Region.

As preliminary results, n. 21 caves of different types and genesis (epigenic, hypogenic, fluviokarst, structural and volcanic), were explored and surveyed, some of which showed particular morphologies concerning their speleogenesy. Interesting paleontological, paleoanthropological and biospeleological elements have also emerged from some caves due to the presence of fossil bones of animals and humans, with the discovery of red ocher animal paintings on walls and remains of ancient fires, and with the observation of a singular coleoctera with a blue-shimmering back (maybe a new species).

From these early researches, a karst context of Armenia of particular relevance highlights for the aforementioned various scientific aspects, as well as for the hydrogeological research of drinking karst waters, and finally as regards the valorization, conservation, protection and, where possible, touristic use of some surface and underground karst Geosites of particular aesthetic and / or scientific value.

Author: Rosario Ruggieri, CIRS Ragusa, Italy

Section: Cave explorations and expeditions

Type: Oral presentation

Karst – Speleo CV Rosario Ruggieri

I am Hydrogeologist and Karstologist PhD

– Member of Karst Commission of International Union of Hydrogeologists

– Member of Scientific Commission of Geosites of the Sicily Region

– Head of CIRS – Hyblean Center of Speleo-Hydrogeological Research, Ragusa, Italy

– Past person in charge for the Caves Regional Register of Sicily

– Past President of Sicilian Speleological Federation

From 1988 to 2018 I have organized 32 international expeditions in different parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Central and South America), in collaboration with universities, research institutes and National Speleological Societies, with the aim of geokarst research and speleological exploration.

I have published some books on karst phenomena of Sicily and more than a hundred articles with both scientific and speleological documentation, in national and international journals and reviews.

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