The expedition investigated three different areas (Fig. 1), looking for unrecorded cave entrances. The first two areas were in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province. One of China’s largest and more colourful ethnic minorities, the Yi, dominate this area. This adds greatly to the experience, with many women wearing characteristics square headdresses and colourful striped skirts; not least is the use of their own language, which also has its own writing system. The area has also been occupied by Tibetan minority groups.
· An area to the west of the Jinsha Jiang (Yangtze river), between the county towns of Leibo and Meigui, was visited in the first week. This area was generally disappointing as the limestone is not as thick as anticipated and is interbedded with other rock types, including lavas. However, there is karst to be explored there.
· Reconnaissance of a second area north of Yanyuan (Fig. 1) revealed an extensive area (~35 x 35 km) of well developed karst. This confirmed the exciting potential of this new area, which has potential for long and deep systems with limestone from some 4410 to 1750m above sea level). The area contains shafts, caves, numerous large dolines, and several blind valleys where water sinks.
The third area was in Gansu Province
· A small team spent two days near the town of Wudu, which lies to the north of Chengdu (Fig. 1). The team reported a very large expanse of limestone.
This includes a high karst plateau that lies above a show cave which is over 1 km long, and has passages that are over 50 m wide. This area also looks very promising and has depth potential of up to 1,500 m.
Sites were logged and given identifiers according to the Hong Meigui standard.Commentaires :