The expedition began on February 7 and the team comprised cavers from the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, Germany, a commander from the Indian Navy and members of the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association. They camped in Umkyrpong and Kseh areas of Jaintia Hills district.
During the expedition, four existing or partially explored caves were further explored and extended while 11 new caves were explored.
Information was also collected about nine more caves while a total of 9.5km of new cave passage was explored and mapped.
According to association general secretary Brian D. Kharpran Daly, the 2011 expedition found that in the Umkhrypong/Kopili area, Krem Diengjem had extended from 6,660m to 6,788mm.
“This cave, connected during the 2010 expedition to Krem Tyngheng, is now a 21,250m long system (Krem Tyngheng-Diengjem cave system) and the third longest in the Indian subcontinent,” Dalysaid.
He also said the Krem Labit Kseh in the Kopili Valley was extended from 4,746m to 5,694m in length with fine river passages and decorated dry relic passages like the Black Diamond Passage and Crystal Gallery.
Daly said Krem Shalong, also situated in the Kopili area, was extended from 2,671m to 4,866m.
“This cave has some very ancient relic passages, one of which is exceptionally beautiful with a profusion of gypsum formations,” he said.
He said some caves in Assam, across the Kopili river from Kseh village, were also explored and surveyed.
These included Krem Bsein I (315m), Krem Bsein II (465m), Krem Khlaw U Song (330m), Krem Um U Slar (290m), Krem Wah U Ngap (88m), Krem Wah U Ksan (150m) and Krem Lar (349m).
Daly said the expedition team included two biologists, who, in two weeks, recorded and documented 16 species of bats and 100 species of birds in a small area around Kseh village.
“With exploration of the new caves, the total number of known caves in Meghalaya now stands at 1,304 with 811 having been explored or partially explored to yield a total length of mapped cave passage of 364km,” Daly said.
“Much of the caves that have been explored in Meghalaya are impressive river caves mixed with huge relic passages and magnificent clean washed shafts,” he said.