EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

The history of exploration in Șura Mare Cave (Romania)

Session code: OE45

Oral / Exploration, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Miss Oana Chachula


Situated in the Southern Carpathians, in Șureanu Mountains, Șura Mare Cave is located near Ohaba Ponor village, Grădiștea Muncelului-Cioclovina Natural Park. It was first explored by local people at the beginning of the 20th century.

Speleologists from Emil Racoviţă Speleological Institute established in 1964, through a fluorescein dye test, that the water from a major engulfment (the swallow hole of the Ohaba stream), re-appeared in Șura Mare after 14 hours. A report on the first 1000 m explored, was published in 1967.

Interest in Şura Mare Cave increased. Numerous contacts were made between researchers from the Emil Racoviţă Speleological Institute, the Karst Research Institute of the Slavonian Academy of Postojna and caving clubs from the UK, some of which reunited under the Joint Universities Expedition to Romania. Collaboration with Great Britain between 1967 and 1969 was important due the lack of knowledge and equipment in Romania at that time compared to the present. A significant effort to survey the cave started in 1976. Between 1981 and 1984, expeditions took place and still continue to the present day. An important theodolite survey was carried out by the Speotimis Caving Club. As a result of co-operation between Romanian and French cavers, Şura Mare reached in 1999 a length of 11.123 m and a difference in level of +425 m. Thus the cave now has a total length of 11.694 m and is still ongoing. This colossus of the Romanian karst, Şura Mare Cave, has certainly not finished telling its story, and is still offering us pleasant surprises.


Caver and bat scientist, since 1999. She is an active member of the Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Expedition, since 2011 and involved in the bat inventory of Meghalaya and Rajahastan caves, India as well as in conservation and exploration projects in Romania, Turkey and Greece. She co-authored 3 caving books.


Conservation scientist (biologist) at the National Museum of Romanian History, Centre of Research and Scientific Investigation - Bucharest, Romania
Caver at Mountain Sports Club Hunedoara – Romania