Systematic identification and analysis of caves (Case study: 16 caves in North Khorasan province)

Document Type : Full length article


1 Faculty member of the Department of Geography and Urban Planning of Bojnord Kosar University

2 Assistant Professor of Department of Geology, Payame Noor University, Iran



Caves play an important role in human habitation, geotourism and groundwater supply. In addition, they have biodiversity, tectonic evidence, fossil artifacts and archaeological significance. Caves have also been used for fun and worship. Unique phenomena, fossils, archeological artifacts and unique wildlife in the caves have made them important tourism attractions with high economic value. Caves are also considered as one of the oldest geotourist sites. Today, cave tourism encompasses a wide range of activities, from watch the scenery to see the wildlife, professional exploration and caving.

Materials and Methods:

Research materials was books, articles, reports and visual documents. The research method was based on field study, direct observation, measurement and to some extent library. Mathematical, relative and elevation position, distribution, distance and access, geological status, genetic characteristics, topography and geomorphology condition, spatial dimensions, geohydrological aspects, biological characteristics, geotouristic status, stone caves and existing dissolution forms, archaeological aspects, existing fossils and their safety and protection aspects of the studied caves were investigated. Based on the instructions for protection and exploitation of caves, how to protect and exploit each of them was determined and graded each from a protection perspective and their privacy were introduced. In order to accurately measurement the geological structures and geometry of caves, a compass device and to estimate the distance and dimensions of the interior space of the caves laser meter was used. For sampling the water accumulated in the caves a water test tube and to place samples of rocks, fossils, etc zipped plastic was used. A questionnaire, checklist and identity card were used to record the characteristics of each caves.

Results and discussion:

A total of 16 caves were surveyed, most of which are located in Bojnourd and Esfarayen due to geological and climatic conditions, and 19 new caves were discovered in North Khorasan Province; Who need field visits and study

10 caves have formed in the middle part of the province, which has more rainfall and lower temperature; Which indicates the effect of the climatic factor of altitude in the formation of some caves in this province. Also, 10 caves have been created in the eastern half of the province, which shows the superiority of the fault tectonic role than dissolution in this part.

Due to the often calcareous lithology, mountain topography and mechanical destruction, finding the mouth of most caves is difficult. For this purpose, their mathematical and altitude coordinates were obtained and recorded with GPS.

The mouths of caves have not developed in a specific direction of the slope. In shady slopes (ubac), the process of physical destruction and in sunny slopes (adret), mechanical degradation and tectonic fault processes have played a role in creating and expanding the mouths of caves. 9 caves are located at an altitude of 1000 to 1500 meters, which often matches with the limb of the anticlines, and tectonics has caused the greatest pressure and shearing stress to occur on the limb of the folds.

8 caves have horizontal entrance corridors, that 7 cases have been formed and developed on the fault surface and in 7 of the caves without horizontal entrance corridors, the mouth corresponds to the fault surface. 7 caves have halls, that 6 cases have been formed and developed on the fault plate.

6 caves of the province have been formed and developed in the light orbitolina limestone called Tirgan. Limestone and dolomitic limestone known as Lar Formation in the eastern Alborz zone (Binalood), is in second place. Marbled rocks, crushing, displacement and discontinuity in the vicinity of the fault plate, having aragonite rock, presence of breccia (It) and fault gouge, occurrence of main fault in the interior space of the cave, presence of transverse faults perpendicular to the main fault and presence of alternating faults along the length of most of the existing caves, indicate the superiority of the fault tectonics than dissolution process in the formation and development of caves. In terms of antiquity of the formations, dissolved spaces and evolved dissolution forms, the Gomnamane-Salug, Armadloo, Kaftarake-Daragh, Gesk and Ganjkooh caves are old and other caves are young.

In the formation and development of most caves in North Khorasan province, fault tectonics and dissolution have played a role with the superiority of faulting; Which corresponds to the tectonic position of Kopet-dagh zone and the northern Khorasan region.

There are 10 wet caves and 6 dry caves without dissolution process.There is water only in the caves of Siahkhaneh and Ganjkooh. Parameters affecting the chemical quality of drinking water such as PH, EC, temperature, nitrate, sulfate, chloride, total hardness, calcium, magnesium, total alkalinity, carbonate and bicarbonate were tested. The water of the Siahkhaneh cave is relatively light and suitable for good drinking. The water PH of Ganjkooh cave is neutral and is around 7.6 and it is generally known as a light water and very suitable for drinking.

The caves of Gomnamane-Salug, Poostinduz, Honameh, Kafar Ghaleh, Siahkhaneh, Babaghodrat and Noshirvan have no bats and the rest have bats.

The investment is done in the handmade collection caves of Honameh and Babaghodrat, but it needs more investment while preserving these natural and historical heritages. Bidak, Gomnamane-Salug, Armadloo, Kaftarake-Daragh, Gesk, Konehgarm and Ganjkooh have typical dissolution forms and need more protection.

The entrance of Bidak, Yayjat, Armadloo, Kafar Ghaleh, Gesk, Konehgarm and Ganjkooh caves is in the form of wells or looks like a natural well; and must be entered with a static rope and harness.

Apart from Babaghodrat and Noshirvan caves, there is a possibility of wild animals in other caves, of which wolves and leopards are the predominant animal species, respectively. In Armadloo cave, due to its proximity to Golestan National Park, the presence of bears is possible.

Kafar Ghaleh and Konehgarm caves are completely unstable and are not suitable for nature tourists, and Konehgarm cave is 1st degree type with forbidden access.

The caves of Gesk and Konehgarm have a high great depth of movement and the caves of Bidak, Armadloo, Poostinduz and Kafar Ghaleh have a great depth of movement.

Bidak, Gomnamane-Salug, Armadloo, Kaftarake-Daragh, Honameh, Babaghodrat, Gesk, Konehgarm and Ganjkooh caves have a very protective value due to their beautiful dissolution forms and their vulnerability and fragility.


Honameh and Babaghodrat caves are handmade, Siahkhaneh and Noshirvan are natural-handmade and 12 other items are natural, the role of fault tectonics is more prominent than the dissolution action. Chemically, the accumulated water in Ganjkooh cave is light and very suitable and in Siahkhaneh cave is similar to surface waters, good, relatively light and suitable for drinking. These caves are formed in Tirgan, Mozduran, Shurijeh, Lar and Pliocene conglomerate. The caves of Honameh, Kafar Qaleh, Babaghodrat and Gesk have archeological importance. 9 of them have bats. Gesk and Konehgarm caves are the deepest and most technical, Konehgarm cave is 1st degree type with forbidden access.


Main Subjects

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Volume 53, Issue 4
February 2022
Pages 531-555
  • Receive Date: 04 November 2021
  • Revise Date: 20 January 2022
  • Accept Date: 29 January 2022
  • First Publish Date: 30 January 2022