Kanin home to one in ten of the world’s deepest caves

The Kanin mountain range has long been a haven for speleology and hydrological research. The latest findings show that more than one tenth of the world’s known caves deeper than 1,000 metres are located there.

The members of seven Slovenian caving clubs have been conducting research in ten caves and cave systems with their Polish and Italian colleagues.

A lot of new caves were discovered in the Rombon cave system, which now makes it the fourth longest system in the country with over 20 kilometres of caves.

In Skalar Cave researchers hope to find a connection to the Mala Boka system, which would make it the deepest cave in Europe.

“Kanin gives us this opportunity because limestone is found at high altitudes of 2,500 meters (…) There is 2,100 metres of height potential,” Jure Tičar from the Caving Club Brežica, who has extensively explored the cave, said an an event last week.

“Since the entry into Skalar cave lies at a relatively high altitude for Kanin plateau, at 2,335 metres, connecting it to the Mala Boka system could mean reaching a depth of 1,900 metres. That would be a maximal depth even for Europe,” he said.

Next year will mark 60 years since the first organised caving expedition in the area led by researcher Jurij Kunaver. “Nobody could have imagined this, even though we came to Kanin with experience (…). We came here with younger colleagues, I was the only one who was a bit older, since I chose the Kanin mountains as the subject of my doctoral thesis,” recalled Kunaver, who will turn 90 next year.

Nowadays many caving clubs are exploring the area. They have found more than 800 caves, the deepest one is Čehi II with its lowest point at 1,505 metres below the entry.