Karakul, an impact crater in Pamir
Tajikistan, a small country in Central Asia, known for its Pamir mountains also has on its territory an amazing geological formation, an impact crater. This 50 km diameter crater called Karakul is located at 4000 meters above sea level near the Kyrgyz and Chinese borders. This crater formed by the impact of an asteroid is one of the largest and certainly one of the youngest that we find on Earth but is still poorly known. Some early clues that Karakul is an impact crater do exist but it is necessary to organize a new expedition to confirm the extraordinary origin of this lake that may imply an overhaul of the geological history of Pamir .
A new expedition from 15th to 25th August 2016
In 1993, Eugene Gurov, an Ukrainian scientist, has postulated for the first time the hypothesis of the impact origine of the Karakul lake. A group of french and tajik geologist has organized a new expedition in July 2011 which allowed to study a small part of the structure (the peninsula and the island in the middle of the lake (publication). The explorers have a lot more to study within this 50 km diameter crater, especially in the region west of the lake that is not accessible by car.
A new expedition will take place from 15th to 25th August 2016. This expedition will involve 9 members of the laboratories Geosciences Paris Sud, Geosciences Environnement Toulouse and the Geological Institute of Tajikistan. The explorers will depart from the city of Osh in Kyrgyzstan to reach the Karakul lake and will stay 7 days to study and map a maximum of land and collect rock samples.
During the first expedition, the explorers used a rowing boat to the island... to tell you everything, 6 of them were trapped on the island. The wind picked up in the late afternoon and waves prevented navigation. The ship served as a shelter against the cold and wind at 4000 m altitude. A return was fortunately possible during the night. This experience is obviously memorable but it shows the limits of a rowing boat to explore a 20 km diameter lake! To explore further the crater, it is essential to be able to sail easily on the lake and travel tens of kilometers to the west coast and around the island. Indeed, the only road connecting the village of Karakul to the world is located east of the lake. The explorers now need a motor boat to make new discoveries .
Who is joining the adventure?