Field geological excursions does not require special high knowledge in various geological directions. But in this program, an accessible language, tells about the geological structure of the great Central Asian mountain systems of the Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai, as well as geological processes occurring in the Earth’s crust and beyond.
In this excursions we will visit geoparks, national parks, geological heritage sites, mines and quarries, caves and lakes. This excursion does not require high professional geological knowledge, and therefore it attracts everyone from beginners to experts. In all our expeditions, on the relief, geology and geological processes, experts are told in an accessible language. At the same time, during the trip you can see stunning landscapes, local cultural attractions, you can see magnificent landscapes, accompanied by incredible wildlife and fascinating people’s stories. During the expedition you will be able to take part in excursions to local historical sites, sail by boat along the Issyk-Kul lake, and taste national dishes.
Professional experts with vast experience gained during many years of field excursions and with ample knowledge of the Tien Shan and Pamiro-Alai geology not only in Kyrgyzstan but also in Central Asia.
- Tectonic evolution and structure of the earth’s crust of the Tien-Shan, Pamir and the bordering regions of the Central Asian folded belt (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan);
- Deposits of minerals of the Tien-Shan and Pamiro-Alai;
- Geodynamics and seismicity in the Kyrgyz sector of the Tien Shan;
- Geomorphology and quaternary geology of the Tien-Shan.
- Structural and geological analysis. Geological mapping of dislocated geological complexes;
- Geological dangers in the Tien-Shan and Pamiro-Alai. Exogenous and geological processes.
Day 1. Arrival in Bishkek
Arrival in Kyrgyzstan. Accommodation in a hotel. Briefing. Presentation of the trip program. Seminar (Brief geographical and geological essay). Acquaintance with expert guides. Preparation for the trip.
Day 2. Excursion to the foothills of the Kyrgyz Mountains
Stop 1 (observation place). Tectonic zone of joint of the Kyrgyz Mountain ridge and the Chu Valley. The current active Issyk-Ata tectonic fault.
The Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) is one of the largest orogens of the Earth, and its evolution has been discussed in numerous debates, especially since the provocative model was published (Sengör, Natalin and Burtmann, 1993). Orogen has a long accretion history numbering several hundred million years, beginning with the late Mesoproterozoic and ending with a collision between Siberia, Tarim and Kazakhstan in the late Permian-early Triassic. Orogen consists of several different segments, among which the Tien Shan is one of the main belts and covers the vast territory of most countries of Central and East Asia.
Further excursion to the Ala-Archa National Nature Park. Ancient alluvial cone. Catastrophic mudslides in the case of a breakthrough of a high-mountainous lake on Adygene glacier.
Overnight at hotel in Bishkek.
Day 3. Bishkek – Sosnovka – Tuya-Ashuu Pass – Kokemeren (Base Camp 1)
Stops on the way to observe geological structures and hear to their characterization. The way from Bishkek to the Suusamyr Valley lies through the Kyrgyz Ridge. The road passes over the Tuya-Ashu Pass (3,300 m). The field base camp will be installed in the picturesque valley of the Kokemeren River.
Along the way exploration of active faults in the eastern part of the Chu Valley.
Stop 2. The system of active faults in the western part of the Chu Valley (Sosnovka vil., 60 km southeast of Bishkek).
Stop 3. Active faults of the Suusamyr depression (Tua-Ashu Pass, 50 km from Bishkek).
Overnight in a field tent camp.
Day 4. Excursions and practice. Exploration of structural tectonic peculiarities of the Suusamyr Valley
Stop 4. The eastern tectonic ledge, as a result of the Suusamyr earthquake of 7.3 Ms-1992-Suusamyr (162 km from the Bishkek-Osh road).
Stop 5. Morphostructural changes in the relief after the Suusamyr earthquake, 7.3 Ms-1992-Suusamyr earthquake
(166 km Bishkek-Osh highway)
Stop 6. The modified hydrosystem pattern caused by modern active tectonics, in the valley of the Chon-Corumdu River.
Stop 7. modified hydrosystem pattern as a result of neotectonics (the Tokoilu River valley, 20 km WNW of Suusamyr).
In the evening – a field seminar. Overnight in the field camp in the Kokemeren Valley.
At the seminar, a short field lecture on the topic: geological and tectonic characteristics of the Chu Hollow. General geology, stratigraphy, metallogeny. The main characteristics of ruptured and folded structures and the processes of their formation. Caledonian folding. Dynamics of formation of terrigenous shale rocks and their ore specialization. Characteristics of the axial part of the Kyrgyz Ridge. Characteristics of tectonic rupture disturbances as the result of latest earthquakes in the Suusamyr Valley. Historical moments related to geological aspects during the construction of the Tuya-Ashuu Tunnel. Description of the Quaternary structure of the valley. Characteristics of hydrogeological features of the valley.Seismotectonics of the Suusamyr Hollow and earthquake of 7.3 Ms-1992-Suusamyr.
Day 5. Suusamyr – Toktogul Reservoir
The route of the expedition goes to the Ketmen-Tube Valley. At present, the valley is filled with the Toktogul Reservoir, which was built to function for the Toktogul Hydroelectric power station. On the way, study of the marble quarry in the Chichkan Gorge, Stop 8.
Overnight on the shore of the Toktogul Reservoir in the recreation center of hydro-builders.
Day 6. Toktogul Reservoir – Kara-Kul – Tash-Kumyr – Mailuu-Suu
Excursions in the morning in the surroundings of the Ketmen-Tube Valley.
- Visual lecture and description of the geological structure of the region on the bank of the reservoir. Characteristic of deep faults of the Kyrgyz, Suusamyr and Talass Ridges and their geological tectonic peculiarities.
- On the way excursion to the area of the Talass-Fergana regional fault, Stop 9.
Characteristic of metamorphic complexes around Kara-Kul town. Geological characteristic of intrusive massifs. Excursion to the marble open-cast mine. Characteristic of sedimentary rocks with intrusive rocks boundaries. Field lecture about processes of transformation of sedimentary rocks (limestone) into metamorphic ones. Examples of local metamorphism around the marble open-cast mine, Stop 10.
Characteristic of volcanic complexes and structures around Tash-Kumyr town along Kara-Kul – Tash-Kumyr road, Stop 11. Stop and excursion at the sites of metamorphic complexes development.
En route structural geological analyses, Stops 12,13. Inclined and horizontal shifts of layers and blocks. Folded structures, goffer, flexures, layers of rocks. Tectonic and stratigraphic discrepancies. Examples of tectonic discrepancies formed by Palaeogene (P) and Quaternary (Q) sediments. Anticlines, synclinals, monoclinals and other types of folds. Practical exercises on the measurement of elements of occurrence of rocks and geological and structural analysis.
Excursion to the silicon deposit in Tash-Kumyr town, Stop 14. Abandoned giant plant of semiconductor crystals. Researches of palaeogene and neogene complexes of rocks. Coal deposits. Excursion to the coal mines.
Arrival in Mailuu-Suu town. Accommodation in a guest house.
Day 7. Mailuu-Suu and surroundings
In the morning until lunch time a field seminar.
- Historical moments connected with engineering, geological and hydro geological aspects during projecting and construction of the Toktogul Reservoir which dam is situated in the zone of the tectonic fault’s influence.
- Meso-Cainozoic formations of the Toktogul Hollow, structural-morphological features.
- The Talass-Karatausky deep fault (tectonic and structural border of the Southern Tien-Shan with the Middle Tien-Shan).
Seminar on the results of conducted observations. After lunch geological excursion to the Dinosaurs’ Plateau, Stop 15.
Field lecture about history of the geological development of the region, on history of mining of uranium in Kyrgyzstan, on the condition of wastage of mining tailings dumps and their characteristic.
Additionally the historian and archaeology expert will conduct a short lecture on historical events took place in the region and related to minerals excavations in the secreted Mailuu-Suutown during Soviet period. Overnight in the guest house.
Day 8. Mailuu-Suu – Dzhalal-Abad – Uzgen – Osh
Trip to Dzhalal-Abad town to the oldest resort of thermo mineral wells in Kyrgyzstan. Excursion at the resort. Short lecture on the origin of wells. Stop 16.
Further trip to Uzgen town. Visit to the archaeological complex of the IX-XI centuries which was built during Karakhanids era. On the way observation of the various exogenous and geological processes. Lecture on the often happening exogenous and geological processes and occurrences in Southern Kyrgyzstan, such as landslides, mudflows, erosion of coast, flooding by ground waters and other on the bank of the Kara-Dariya River. Stop 17 on the one slope composed of loess rocks with several dozens of landslides. Transfer to Osh. Accommodation in the guest house. Dinner with national dishes.
Day 9. Osh and surroundings
City tour. Historical sites and objects. Visit to the mineralogy museum of the Southern Kyrgyz geological expedition. Meeting with geologists and short lecture about geology of the Pamiro-Alai and south-western Tien Shan. Training on mineralogy. Dinner in the national restaurant. Overnight in the guest house.
Day 10. Osh – Tuya-Muyun
After breakfast we start to the famous karst region – the Osh Hills. Those are the paleo karst outliers formed by Devonian limestone. The outliers have caves and numerous grottos. On the way we observe gypsum-selenit deposits and the non-operative lead open-cast, Stop 18.
Our way lies via fertile oasises of the Aravan Valley to the well-known karst region called Tuya-Muyun. There are hydro thermo mineral karst caves of high length.
Arrival in the Tuya-Muyun Region. Tent camp setting up.
The Tuya-Muyun is interesting because of its location within the South-Fergana hydro thermo mineral belt passing to the west into a mercury-antimony component of a belt. Excursion to the same name plateau to the Fersman Cave-mine. History of the development and mine of the deposit of precious minerals for the first atomic bomb in the USSR, Stop 19. The cave is extreme for the fans of the sports caving. Depth – 240 m. The origin of the cave is hydrothermokarst. Hot solutes formed a number of different minerals here. Ore containing various mineral compounds was processed at the Isolit plant in Mailuu-Suu where to our previous visit was not accidental.
After lunch we continue to the Large Barite Cave found by Academic Fersman, Stop 20. The cave is famous for the rare barite deposit discovered by Fersman. The cave is easily accessible due to the entrance tunnel in the limestone massif but it’s possiuble to make a vertical descent into the cave through the natural 20 meters deep input well as Fersman did.
Evening bonfire. There is a small waterfall of clean drinking water coming from the karst massif nearby where you can take a cool shower and wash clothes. Overnight in the camp.
Day 11. Tuya-Muyun and surroundings
In the morning visit to the famous Surprise Cave, Stop 21. The way to the cave lies along the exotic Dangi Canyon translating as «narrow». The origin of the cave is hydrothermomineral. Vertical sides of the canyon up to 150 m, hovering eagles in the sky strip, numerous caves, rock paintings make the canyon excursion fascinating. The cave is interesting for its formations, for example, calcite corallites or pentagonal crystals. Visit to the exploring galleries passed for the purpose of engineering-geological researches for the construction of a mudflow dam and storage. Practical trainings in galleries on a structural analysis of the massif. Studying of hydrothermomineral displays.
In the evening the seminar:
- Karst regions of Kyrgyzstan. Regional spreading and history of the geological development;
- Paleoclimatic and paleoseismic researches in caves
Evening bonfire. Overnight in the camp.
Day 12. Tuya-Muyun – Abshir-Ata Waterfall – Kyzyl-Kiya – Kadamzhai – Haidarkan
In the morning excursion to the Abshir-Ata Gorge to the same name waterfall vaucluse, Stop 22. Vaucluse of Abshir-Ata is a nature reserve. Vaucluse, according to geologists was formed as a result of seismic events. It forms a waterfall and represents the result of a large hydrogeological system in a limestone massif.
Next, an excursion to Almalyk Coal basin (a coal deposit). Near Almalyk Coal-mine a brief lecture on geology, stratigraphy, lithology of the Uzgen Coal Basin, Stop 23.
Then a trip to Kyzyl-Kiya town – the avant-guard of the Kyrgyz coal industry. Visit to the training mine ground. Excursion to Institute of Mining and Mining technologies. Meeting students in the conference hall of the institute.
Short lecture on topics:
- Coal deposits of Kyrgyzstan. Coal terekkons (Kyzyl-Kiya);
- Unique hydrogeological features of the Abshir-Ata, Hodzhagair, Dzhidalik and Azimbula waterfalls;
- Structural-petrographic features of volcanic formations of the Mesozoic.
Lunch in the local restaurant with national dishes. Accommodation in the Institute’s hostel.
Transfer to Kadamzhai and Haidarkan. Stop on the way and research of geological formations. Excursion to the Tegermachskiy Thrust, Stop 24. The Tegermachsky Thrust is a contact of the Silurian (S) metamorphic rocks that lie above the Devonian (D) limestones. Description of the thrust. Overnight in the hotel in Haidarkan.
Day 13. Haidarkan and surroundings
In the morning a seminar in the conference hall of the mercury-antimony plant on the topics:
- Antimony, mercury deposits of the Southern Tien-Shan (Kadamzhai, Chauvai, Khaidarkan);
- South-Fergana mercury-antimony hydrothermomineral belt.
- Geodynamics of the famous Tegermachskiy Thrust.
After lunch descent into the active fluorite mine and quarry for extraction of cinnabar and raw materials for mercury Hg, (Hydrargyrum), as well as antimony – (Sb, Stibium). Stop 25. While visiting the mine and the quarry, all the participants are provided with helmets and flashlights. Excursion to the metallurgical plant.
Overnight in the hotel in Haidarkan.
Day 14. Haidarkan – Kadamzhai – Batken – Samarkandyk – Madygen
We move further to the west to the small batken town. During drive along the South-Fergana hydrothermomineral belt – observations and descriptions of geology and orography of the region. Rapid lunch in Batken. After lunch the route continues through the Samarkandyk stony desert to the area of the ancient Kan-i-Gut Cave-mine, Stop 26. A brief lecture on the history of the extraction of silver and lead ores in the Middle Ages. In the cave in different historical epochs raw materials for lead and silver were extracted.
Further the route passes through a unique geological heritage – the Sary-Too Mountains. The Sary-Too Mountains are composed of Mesozoic (Mz) rocks, which form colored landscapes from multi-colored geological layers of Cretaceous and Jurassic age (J-K). Study of paleontology, Stop 27.
In Sary-Too all the way to Madygen you can take pictures of the unique landscapes.
Along the way stop and study of the ancient metallurgical complex of the 9th-10th centuries, Stop 28.
Madigen is an oasis of old poplars that grow here thanks to karst springs draining the Takta-Boz limestone massif.
Overnight in the field camp.
Day 15. Sary-Too Mountain massif
In the morning research of Jurassic and Cretaceous complexes of rocks. Description of structures, lithology and stratigraphy. Paleontological practical work, Stop 29. Selection and description of petrified representatives of fauna. Research of geological structures. Structural analysis. Structural and geological mapping. Excursion to the Madygen Canyon.
In the evening a seminar on topics:
- Mesozoic-Cainozoic (Mz-Kz) Sary-Too complex;
- Geological analysis. Examples of geological mapping.
- Neotectonic of the area.
Overnight in the camp.
Day 16. Madygen – Batken – Osh
Transfer to Osh. We don’t plan stops this day. You can observe landscapes from the vehicle. En route an excursion to the abandoned lead quarry in Sovetskoye village, Stop 30. Nowadays, a lake was formed on the place of the quarry. Arrival in Osh. Overnight in the guest house.
Day 17. Osh – Dzhalal–Abad – Kazarman
The road from Dzhalal—Abad will run over a pass of the Fergana Ridge, which is located submeridionally in relation to the other mountain ranges of the Tien Shan. Along the Ferghana Ridge is the Talas-Fergana regional deep tectonic fault. On the south-western slopes of the ridge we will see thickets of relic nut wood.
Passing the pass through the mountain range, we will descend to the valley of the Naryn River. After the mountain pass we will find ourselves in the Middle Tien Shan, which differs from the Southern Tien Shan and the Northern Tien Shan in its geological history, as well as its tectonic structure.
On the way excursion to the nomadic locals, familiarity with everyday life.
Overnight in the guest house.
Day 18. Kazarman – Baetovo – Naryn
In the morning the route continues through badlands of Baetovo to the Naryn city. Along the way, after the Kara-Koo Pass, the route runs to Baetow’s badlands forming tectonic terraces are developed as strips in the intermountain depressions at various heights. In some places, the Quaternary (Q) accumulative cover is destroyed. As a result, the surface of the terrace becomes erosive. Due to the intensive dismemberment of the Middle Quaternary (QII) surface by canals of permanent and temporary watercourses, the relief has a typical wavy appearance. Flat plains and trails of the Upper Quaternary (QIII) age are widely developed and well preserved.
All this testifies to the latest tectonic vertical movements.
In the Inner Tien Shan this morphostructural complex forms a relief of the “badlands” type. Deep river valleys, in turn, formed a widely developed socle terraces, Stop 31.
On the route you can see a trail formed of loss cones along the left bank of the Naryn River, near Baetovo village, on the vast northern foothills of the Jaman-Too Mountain range from the vehicle, as well as morphostructures composed of Mesozoic and Cainozoic (Mz-Kz) rock complexes (badlands). Formed landscapes associated to the valley of the Alabuga River are the result of neotectonic movements, with clear wide socle terraces.
Arrival in Naryn. Accommodation.
In the evening a seminar on the topics:
- Caledonides and Hercynides of the Middle Tien Shan;
- Tectonic evolution of the Tien Shan;
- Natural hazards in the vicinity of Naryn town, a system for monitoring of dangerous geological processes.
Accommodation in the hotel.
Day 19. Naryn – Kochkor – Cholpon-Ata
Morning excursion in the vicinity of Naryn to the Stop 32. Study of active tectonic faults of Naryn section.
Further excursion to dangerous mudflow-forming valleys. Assessment of the mudflow zone, Stop 33. Naryn is located in the zone of dangerous mudflow processes impact. About 70 mudflow forming large and small valleys threaten the town’s infrastructure and population.
Then the route to the north. On the way to Kochkor village Stop 34 to study of Nikolaev’s Line, which is an important tectonic structure in the Tien Shan.
According to the features of tectonics, the Kyrgyz part of the Tien Shan is divided into three regions, which are called the Northern, Middle and Southern Tien Shan. The Northern and the Middle Tien Shan are separated by the Terskey-Karatau Fault, which was named by the geologist V.A. Nikolaev “The most important structural line of the Tien Shan” or “Nikolaev’s Line” (it is now clear that it is a structure of the Sak Paleo-oceanic basin).
The Middle and the Southern Tien Shan is divided by regional disjunctive, which is called the Central Tien Shan (structure of the Turkestan paleoceanic basin). The Talas-Fergana displacement, located diagonally to the general strike of the structures, the Middle and the Southern Tien Shan are divided into two sectors: the eastern and the western.
Further the route from Kochkor to Cholpon-Ata through the picturesque desert of Ak-Olong. Study of mountain remains, composed of magmatic and metamorphic rocks. Here at Stop 35 the study of the sienites of the Permian period (P).
In Kochkor a visit to the original felt production and museum of felt products.
Arrival in Cholpon-Ata town (northern coast of Issyk-Kul Lake). Check-in.
In the evening a seminar on the topics:
- The geological history of the formation of Lake Issyk-Kul, geological structure of the area.
- Summing up the results of observations during the past routes.
Accommodation in the hotel.
Day 20. Cholpon-Ata and surroundings
In the morning excursion by boat on Lake Issyk-Kul. Excursion to the petroglyphs, Stop 36. UNESCO heritage. Recreation. Seminar in the evening. Summarizing.
Day 21. Cholpon-Ata – Bishkek
On the way study of neotectonic and modern structures. Paleoseismic
and historical deformations in the Issyk-Kul Hollow and its surroundings.
The Boz-Barmak modern anticline as the reason for the deviation of the Chu River from its confluence into Issyk-Kul Lake. Stop 37.
Arrival in Bishkek. Accommodation in the hotel.
Day 22. Departure
Transfer to the airport.