Photos by Amin Rahmani, Mehr News Agency
Katalehkhor is a cave located close to the town of Garmab in Iran's Zanjan Province, 120 km south of Zanjan city and 410 km away from Tehran. The name, Katalehkhor, means "mount of Sun". Katalehkhor, currently longest cave of Iran at 12860 meters, was discovered in 1965 by mountaineers from Hamadan.
Katalehkhor is an anastomotic multilevel cave with a large main gallery, many coulisses, parallel passages, and much breakdown. Extraordinary are extensive calcite formations and superb crystals which cover the cave wall for dozens of meters. The 100m long Wedding Hall is completely covered by calcite crystals. It is developed in Oligocene/Miocene limestone in the northern flank of an anticline. The cave was mainly created by phreatic corrosion in a still water milieu.
The cave has a 1,250m long visitor path which is partly made up of steel bridges. From the end of the path the visitors have to walk back the same way, so the tour has the extraordinary length of 2.5 km.
In September/October 2003 a speleological project explored and surveyed the cave, supervised by the Geological Survey of Iran (GSI), and supported both by the GSI and the government of Zanjan province. The surveyed length of 12,860m made Ghar Katalehkhor the longest cave of the Iran. The surveying team consisted of four participants: Mr. H. Akbarzadeh (GSI), Mr. Javad Ashjari (Geological Department of Shiraz University), Mr. Michael Laumanns (Germany) and Mr. Rene Scherrer (Switzerland). (source: www.showcaves.com)
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