Global Network of National Geoparks

A Twin Geopark Action: Explorations in Jiangzhou Cave System

Published :March 10, 2014


Leye-Fengshan Geopark of China lately welcomed a cave exploration team led by his twin geopark Le Massif des Bauges.

The team was composed of 7 European cavers, including the president of Massif des Bauges science committee and to reinforce the Fenghuang exploration club based in Fengshan county, thus creating an exploration force of 15 people.

The target was to continue survey new branches in the incredible underground natural cave network of Jiangzhou, trying to find in that huge maze a way to Sanmenhai, the resurgence of the subterranean river.

The karst cave network of Jiangzhou is essentially constituted of wide and high sub-horizontal dry galleries with some unexplored pitches that all could access to the underground river.

The exploration work lasted 9 days. All together, 35 pitches were explored down using rope technics and 5 were explored up using the climbing technics. 9 232 m of new cave passages were surveyed and 2 tributary to the subterranean river discovered. Jiangzhoudong is now a 46 km long cave and the total amount of cave in this areas is 80 km. The total length of cave for Fengshan county is 150 km.

By accessing many times to the lower level of the cave, we found out likely that the subterranean main stream is probably phreatic and have few chance to be surveyed easily. The observation of flow and flow evidences reversed the idea about the flow direction. These indication will determine the coming exploration strategy.

In addition, this expedition reinforced the friendship between the twin geoparks and opened on joined development projects to organize international karst geotours including some parts of the wild cave resources.