Atlas of Great Caves of the World – revised edition

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Atlas of Great Caves of the World – revised edition

Postby Lee.Florea » Dec 11, 2006 1:07 pm

Cave Books, the publication affiliate of the Cave Research Foundation, USA, is pleased to announce their plans to update and revise the existing version of Atlas of the Great Caves of the World. This all new English-language edition will be completed and in press in time for the 2009 International Congress of Speleology to be held in Kerrville Texas. The editors for this revision, Joel Despain, Lee Florea, and Pat Kambesis, each have years of international caving experience and a lifelong interest in cave cartography and karst research.

The previous edition of the atlas was originally published in French in 1986 by Paul Courbon and Claude Chabert. The English version by Courbon, Chabert, Bosted & Lindlsey was published in 1989. Dedicated exploration and major discoveries since that time have greatly changed our knowledge of caves around the world. For example, at the time of the 1989 publication, Lechuguilla Cave was 50 kilometers long (now 180 kilometers in length) and the world’s deepest cave, Krubera, had not been discovered.

For this revision of a well known book to be a successful project we need your help. Updated maps, articles, photographs and information on the World’s significant long and deep caves are critical to complete this book. The information can be submitted to us in any format. However, the project webpage ( contains an electronic submission form that can be filled out and sent to us via the project email account ( or via standard mail to: Great Caves Atlas, 41170 Oak Ridge, Three Rivers, California USA 93271. This electronic form will help guide you through the submission process and convey to the editors the critical information needed to produce an accurate and up to date publication in the format best suited for print.

The present set of criteria for submitted caves comprise:
• All caves over 30 kilometers long (currently there are 117 on the list compiled by Bob Gulden)
• All caves over 1000 meters deep (currently that includes 84 caves)
• For each country of the world, the longest and deepest caves regardless of their size
• Caves that include the world’s largest underground chambers (greater than 30,000 m2)
• Greatest entrance to entrance traverses (e.g. longest distance or depth between entrances)
• Greatest underground ascents and descents (vertical shaft(s) or canyons)
• Record cave dives (e.g. depth or distance of penetration)
• Greatest hydrogeologic systems (e.g. longest or deepest dye trace)
• Greatest non-limestone caves
• Great vertical pits either solitary or within a cave.
• Caves with other particularly outstanding and extraordinary features such as mineral deposits, archeology, paleontology, etc. as determined by the editors

If you have such information, please submit it to us for inclusion in the revised version of the Atlas. Thank you for your assistance. Your suggestions and comments on the project are always welcome.

Safe caving,

Joel Despain,
Cave Management Specialist, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Lee Florea,
Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, United States Geological Survey
Pat Kambesis,
Assistant Director, Hoffman Environmental Research Institute at Western Kentucky University
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