In expectation of new discoveries


In expectation of new discoveries


Mingaria limestone massif is one of the compound parts of the high mountainous karst of Western Georgia. It is located in the southern peripheral part of the Egrisi Range among the gorges of the rivers of Khobistskali and Tekhura. Administratively it is located in Chkhorotsku and Martvili regions.


The first Georgian researchers, who visited the Mingaria massif, were: Mr. Maruashvili, the professor, and Ellen and Mose Sokhadzes. In the following years, the expedition crew of the Institute of Geography consisting of B. Gergedava, K. Tsikarishvili, V. Kapanadze and A. Jamrishvili has started to study the speleological peculiarities of Mingaria limestone massif. About fifteen caves are revealed in the Mingaria massif ("Cadastre of karst caves of Georgia", Z. Tatashidze, K. Tsikarishvili, J. Jishkariani, Vakhushti Bagrationi Institute of Geography, 2009).


Among the caves of Mingaria massif the Shurubumu karst Cave is notable, which is discovered and partially investigated by the Institute of Geography by support of local residents. The cave is located in the western part of Mingaria massif, namely, on the left bank of the river of Khobistskali in the distance of 3 km from the village of Mukhuri of the region of Chkhorotsku.


Group of scientists (by leadership of B. Gergedava) and the local enthusiasts have being tried for several years to clear the entrance of the Shurubumu Cave. But the cave keeps its secret until now. Due to financial difficulties, the speleo-expeditions were stopped for several years. However, by enthusiasm and great effort of Igor Pichkhaia, the Deputy Governor of Chkhorotsku and Roman Tolordava, the Deputy Chairman of the City Council, an attempt to clear the cave entrance is still in progress. Excavation works and cleaning the entry from stone-road metals are going under their supervision.


By consent of the Institute authority it was decided to be renewed researches of the karsts of Mingaria limestone massif and unique cave systems and develop the prospects for their use for tourist purposes.


For above purposes, in April of current year, the Institute Director, Ms. Nana Bolashvili, Deputy Director, Mr. Zurab Janelidze and Senior researcher, speleologist, Kukuri Tsikarishvili were in Chkhorotsku municipality on scientific mission. They visited the surrounding areas of Shurubumu Cave and Lugela gorge. Mr. Igor Pichkhaia and Mr. Roman Tolordava were the guides. The results of surveying are as follows:



Shurubumu depression can not be almost observed visually on the Earth,s surface. The certain signs of its existence can be observed on the left bank of the gorge of the river of Khobistskali, where the vertical and sloped walls of the limestone massif are cracked and one can hear the sound of water from the depth. According to the echo caused by the stone thrown in the crack we can assume the dimensions of emptiness of the karst.


Despite the abundant atmospheric precipitation, only a few outlets of several springs can be found in the Earth,s surface. However, the abundant underground springs flow through the numerous cavities in the karst massif.


Entrance of the Shurubumu Cave (“shurubumu” means “silent” in Mengrelian dialect) is blocked by the stone avalanche. Water flow passes through its bed. It can be felt the weak movement of air masses as well, which is conditioned by the difference between the surface and cave temperatures. Shurubumu Cave is characterized with narrow holes. the cavities are blocked by siphon waters, though, one can go through to the end (150 m). The Cavity is formed in the thin layered limestones of Upper Cretaceous (Turonian) age. The Cave is adorned with almost all kinds of melted forms - stalactites and helictites as well. Walls are decorated with "stone waterfalls”. Water flow passes through the cave. 



Shurubumu Cave is one of the interesting objects of nature. Karst relief of the surroundings of the Cave is diverse. there are represented the rare forms of nature such as canyons (a site in the Shurubumu section), waterfalls (of Ochkhomuri), vocluses (of Shurubumu, Shiksha, Atamana, Vau, Khurus, etc.). These are interesting tourist objects, the revealing of preconditions for improvement and safe tourist exploitation of which will have certain affect on the development of country,s economy and tourist industry. We are sure, that some unique caves of Mingaria massif and its sights (together with the Lugela medical sources) will be of great pleasure for visitors.