OJG  Vol.7 No.4 , April 2017
Sedimentological Study of Caves in the Zemo Imereti Plateau, Georgia, Caucasus Region
Abstract: The Zemo Imereti Plateau is located in the easternmost part of the limestone region of western Georgia and is Caucasus’ only karst plateau. It is centrally located in a relatively elevated part of the intermountain plain of the country of Georgia. Lithostratigraphical (petrographic, mineralogical, and XRD) research on terrigenous sediments found in caves in the region was conducted in the Upper Cretaceous limestones located at different hypsometric levels (400 - 700 m). This study focused on allochthonous deposits, which, due to sedimentological features, contains significant and complete information for paleogeographic reconstruction as opposed to the autochthonous sediments. Source provinces of the sediments’ origin were determined using petrographic analysis. Lithological study of the terrigenous sediments indicated their origin from the Racha range, as well as their transportation mechanisms, and sedimentation conditions during deposition. Approximate ages (the end of the Middle Pleistocene and the beginning of the Late Pleistocene) of ancient terrestrial sediments in Rganisklde Cave were achieved by taking into account the geological and geomorphological development of the region. Lithostratigraphical analysis of the cave deposits and modern archaeological data indicate that the formation of the caves in the Zemo Imereti plateau took place mainly during the end of the Middle Pleistocene and in the beginning of the Pleistocene; while on the southern slope of the Racha range and in the surrounding area of Ertso-Tsona (Caucasus southern slope), they formed in the Early Pleistocene.
Cite this paper: Asanidze, L. , Chikhradze, N. , Lezhava, Z. , Tsikarishvili, K. , Polk, J. and Chartolani, G. (2017) Sedimentological Study of Caves in the Zemo Imereti Plateau, Georgia, Caucasus Region. Open Journal of Geology, 7, 465-477. doi: 10.4236/ojg.2017.74032.

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