Researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered the deepest cave in Israel. Located near Israel’s border with Lebanon, the cave was recently mapped by researchers from the Cave Research Unit in The Hebrew University’s Department of Geography: Vladimir Buslov, Yuri Lisovic, and Boaz Langford.
Reaching a depth of 187 meters below ground, the cave is 30 meters deeper than the previous record-holder, which was mapped 30 years ago. At 157 meters, the previous cave has been considered Israel’s deepest since spelunkers from the Cave Research Center plumbed its depths on Mount Meron in 1984.
Directed by Professor Amos Frumkin, the Cave Research Center studies the caves and karst of Israel, and serves as the country’s national speleological (cave-exploring) organization. For more than 40 years the Cave Research Unit has been finding and investigating caves all over Israel.
Professor Frumkin said: “This particular cave is an interesting surprise, and our most significant find in recent decades. Discoveries like this give us an idea of the depth of the natural underground system that provides our groundwater, and allows us to better understand what’s happening even further down. We have made serious progress in the study of caves and we look forward to further interesting discoveries soon.”
The new cave was first reported by a resident of Moshav Shtula in the Upper Galilee near the Lebanese border. He passed the information to Shalev Avni, a volunteer with the Cave Research Center. The initial examination included rappelling to a depth of 100 meters below ground.
The new record brings Israel a little closer to its neighbor Lebanon, which has caves that reach as deep as 600 meters below ground. It is likely that caves of this depth and more are contained within the borders of Israel – but have not been discovered yet. Currently thousands of underground voids have been identified, while many more remain to be discovered.