1/21/2006
Saaudi Caves
Dear John,

I saw you, five years ago, at the Beyrouth speleology
symposium.

I'm a field-surveyor and I have been five times to
saudia, first in 1983 and 1984 for topographic works
and in 2003, 2004, 2005, always as field surveyor, in
a french archeological mission to Medain Salih, close
to al 'Ula.

In 2005, my work was to study the nabatean wells of
Medain Salih.
So, I made a hydrogeological study of the area and I
explored several wells, making drillings at the bottom
of four wells.

Now, I'm writing a paper for Spelunca, review of the
french caving federation.

I'm reading your paper "overview of saudi desert
caves" printed in the proccedings of the Beyrouth 2001
symposium and I've some questions to ask you.
You give Ain Hit 150 meters deep. Is it Ain Hit or
Dahl Hit located at 35 km from Riyadh? In 1983, I
visited Dahl Hit and reached the water at a depth of
80-85 meters.
Where are Dharb al Najem, Abu Sukhayl (Dahl Abu
Sukhayl?).
Is the depth of Dahl Abalhol 70 or 75 meters?
What is the length of Dahl Murrubeh and Dahl
as-Sultan?

I've also read your interesting paper about lava caves
in Saudia, printed in Ahlan Wasahlan (Saudia
airlines).

Do you think that with the permission and the
collaboration of Saudi Geological Survey, it will be
possible to organise a caving expedition in saudia,
with the purpose to survey the caves of the
kingdom?

Hoping to read you, best wishes.

Paul Courbon
paul.courbon@yahoo.fr

Paul COURBON
20, rue Peyre Ferry
F 83000 TOULON
tÚl : 04.94.22.98.25

REPLY:
Bonjour, Paul!
I am delighted to hear from you! It sounds like your project near Al Ula
may have connected you with our dear friend Patrick Pierard...if so, please
give him our best regards!

Separately, I am sending you a brief History of Cave mapping in Saudi Arabia. This
has not yet been published, but will be in the introduction to a book of 19
cave maps that I have submitted to SGS for publication. This history is far from complete and
I would be very grateful if you would add your comments and information.

All the serious publications on Saudi caves are listed at:
http://www.saudicaves.com/spspubs/index.html .

Your proposal for cave mapping is indeed very
welcome. It would be very easy to draw up a list of caves which need to be
mapped: Dahl Sultan, the 6-km-long lava tube on Jebel Hil, the many lava
caves on the sides of Jebel Qidr, etc., etc. If you have some idea where we can find
some outside funding for this project, we could do a lot. If it were
possible to add a biologist and paleontologist to the team, I suspect we
could make some major discoveries, as such studies have never been made in
Saudi Arabia.

Michael Laumanns of Berliner Llohlenkundliche Berichte would like to publish
a complete book of all Saudi Cave maps. The Austrians, SGS and I have all
agreed to contribute our maps. Such a publication could be held off for a
few years if there is a chance we could do more cave mapping there. I am
very interested in your ideas about this!

Here are answers to some of your questions:
Ain Hit....yes, it's the same as Ain Hith, located near Al Kharj. In 2002
Greg Gregory conducted a survey showing the water level to be 137m below the
surface. Several divers agree the water level has been dropping steadily.
Greg's map can be seen at:
http://www.saudicaves.com/ainhit/20ain.jpg
and general info about the survey is at:
http://www.saudicaves.com/ainhit/index.htm


Dahl Abalhol is 70 meters deep.

Dahl Murubbeh is 455.79 meters long according to the Austrians who surveyed
approximately 50 Saudi caves in the 1980's.

Dahl Sultan: a complete survey has never been made. I suspect there may be
several kms of passages, making it the longest limestone cave in Saudi
Arabia. A new and complete survey of this cave would be a great idea!

Looking forward to hearing more from you...en franšais aussi!

John Pint