“Fatuk-Kuak Hosi Timor Lorosa’e”: Caves of Timor-Leste

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Timor-Leste (formerly East-Timor) is one of the youngest nations in the world. Partly because of its troubled recent history, this small Southeast Asian country nowadays remains one of the least explored as far as speleology is concerned. With a total area of 15,000 km2, a high percentage of the country's territory is limestone and it hosts one of the largest poljes in the world. In September, 2016, the "Fatuk-kuak hosi Timor-Lorosa' e" project (Caves of Timor-Leste), created by four Portuguese caving clubs and joined by the only Timorese caving club, made its rst expedition to Timor-Leste, briey visiting some of its karst areas. During the month long expedition-carried out under the auspices of the International Union of Speleology (UIS) and the Portuguese Federation of Speleology (FPE) more than 50 caves were registered in the districts of Ainaro, Baucau, Lautém and Viqueque. e major highlights are: i) Bakua cave; this 650 m long, 197 m deep sink near Maubisse is the country's longest and deepest cave to date. e Biribui spring cave, the system's most probable resurgence point, lies roughly 800 m away and 350 m below; ii) e polje of Lake Iralalaro, one of the largest in the world, continuously drains its water through the Irasiquero River, which sumps aer 3.5 km at the (yet impenetrable) Mainina sink. e resurgence of this system is unknown and probably lies at the ocean bed, no less than 4 km away; and iii) the rst biospeleological survey, providing new species for science and the discovery of a rich biodiversity in these tropical caves. Access remains an obstacle to visiting some areas of the country, so some of the karst with the most potential for caves is yet to be visited. e "Fatuk-kuak hosi Timor-Lorosa' e" project will return annually, to continue exploration and support the development of Timorese speleology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th International Congress of Speleology
EditorsKevin Moore, Susan White
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationSydney
Publisher Australian Speleological Federation Inc.
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-0-9588857-0-6​
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and www.ku.dk

No data available

ID: 189592949