With a total length of cave passages reaching a staggering 13,232 m, the deepest explored parts of Krubera-Voronya reach 2,197 m. It remains the only known cave on Earth deeper than 2,000 meters—rightfully earning the title as the entrance to Inner Earth.
Known as Krubera-Voronya—the cave is known as the EVEREST of caves. With a total length of cave passages reaching a staggering 13,232 m, the deepest explored parts of Krubera-Voronya reach 2,197 m. The difference in elevation of the cave’s entrance and its deepest explored point is 2,197 ± 20 meters (7,208 ± 66 ft).
Krubera remains the only known cave on Earth deeper than 2,000 meters.
This fascinating cave is located the Arabika massif, in the Gagra mountain range, in Abkhazia, Georgia. The cave is divided into two branches, one of 1,300 and one of 2,196 meters of depth, which drop into several smaller slopes. The first data on the astonishing depth of the cave emerged in 2004, during three expeditions that obtained different records of depth, all agreeing that for the first time in the history we’ve found a cave that exceeded 2,000 meters in depth.
The most important moments of the exploration of the face are as follow:
1960: The cave was found by Georgian explorers, who reached a depth of 180 meters.
1980: A Russian-Polish expedition discovered three caves in the Arábika system: the Siberian cave, the Henrich grave and the Berchil cave.
In the early 1980s, the Kiev Club explored the cave up to -340 meters.
In 1999, the expedition of the Ukrainian Speleological Associations (Ukr. S.A.) led by Yury Kasyan made a major breakthrough in Krubera Cave by discovering and exploring two branches behind the windows at a depth of 220–250 m. These branches stretched in two different directions. The “Main Branch” was explored to −740 m and the “Nekuybyshevskaya Branch” to −500 m.
2000, in August, the same Ukrainian team continued exploration up to -1200 m.
2000, in September, the UkrSA and MTDE teams continued exploration up to -1410 m.
In January 2001, the Ukr.S.A. expedition explored the cave to −1,710 m (−5,610 ft) making it the deepest cave in the world. For the first time in the history of speleology, the deepest cave in the world had been established outside of western Europe. Since 2001, the Krubera explorations by the Ukr.S.A. have been undertaken within the frame of the multi-year project named “The Call of the Abyss”, coordinated by A. Klimchuk, Y. Kasyan, G. Samokhin and K. Markovskoy. Besides the Ukrainian speleologists, cavers from many countries such as France, Spain, Russia, Moldova, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Ireland, Israel, and Lithuania have taken part in different expeditions of the Ukr.S.A.
January of 2007 the CAVEX team expedition. Performed a dive in the terminal “Dva Kapitana” sump and claimed it to reach −30 m depth below the water table. However, characteristics of morphology of the underwater passage reported by the team were not confirmed by the subsequent exploration, and no safety line was found deeper than 16 m.
August–September of 2009 the Ukr.S.A. expedition led by Yury Kasyan further pushed the Nekuybushevskaya Branch to a siphon at depth of 1,557 m (5,108 ft). The international “Towards the Centre of the Earth” expedition led by Aidas Gudaitis returned to the main branch to collect data from water level loggers, swap their locations and push exploration in the “Spanish branch” near camp 1400.
2012 August: A team of 59 spent 27 days exploring Krubera. Including members from nine different countries, the team set up a series of camps underground. Ukrainian cave diver Gennadiy Samokhin was responsible for reaching a new world depth record of −2,197 meters (−7,208 ft).