Tepuis are unique mountains: square-shaped, wide summit surface limited by high vertical walls. Due to strong erosion some Tepuis have the shape of huge isolated towers, up to 1000 m high.There, many new caves were discovered in the last twenty years, supposed to be the oldest caves on Earth.
The expedition Tepui 2012 is now coming to end, more than a month and a half of research, exploration and documentation in the Venezuelan tepui. This year the programs were limited by bad weather and logistical problems that forced us to change the original targets. Nevertheless, the final report is very positive.
Geological research have ranged from Roraima, to Akopan up to Auyan Tepui, including a geomorphological study of the entire Gran Sabana. Studies were performed on silica dissolved in water, the processes of arenizzation, on speleothems and mineralization inside the caves.
A great new spring has been reached on one of the most impressive walls of Roraima. The exploration of this new system has been hampered by a dangerous full of water, but the distance between the sinkhole and the wall is to assume interesting developments for next year.
Were completed the exploration of System Akopan-Dal Cin with the finding of a new branch, while on the Auyan Tepui were reached some new caves, one of these promise for the future great developments. Only in this tepui, thanks to overflights of our friend and partner Raul Arias, we have identified at least a dozen entries that will be the main target of the next expedition. Once again this huge mountain demonstrates not exausthed the exploration possibilities: after expeditions of the '90s, the discovery of Cueva Guacamaya and Cueva el Águila, new areas are proving to have complex underground systems that will surely give great satisfaction and even new scientific information.
At the same time it was done a remarkable job of documentation with thousands of photos outside and in the cave, but especially with a job to support a crew from BBC who worked on a documentary about Akopan, with spectacular aerial shots of the area and of the entrances in the wall. This documentary is meant to be aired in Europe, USA and Japan, showing the wonders of the underground river that runs through this mountain, a stream of water suspended in time, with a unique geological and biological diversity.
As in the past we return home with the feeling of having made a journey through time in these magical "islands" that have the taste of other worlds. Once again caving in quarz rocks proves to be one of the most fascinating frontiers of exploration in these times.
The team: Carla Corongiu,Vittorio Crobu, Antonio De Vivo, Marco Mecchia, Leonardo Piccini, Enzo Procopio, Laura Sanna, Francesco Sauro, Giacomo Strapazzon, Roberto Trevi, Freddy Vergara.
Since 1993 five expeditions were carried on by La Venta in the tepui Auyan, Chimantha and Roraima. The project is still going on with a new expedition are planned for 2013 on Auyan Tepui.