New Data on the Geological Structure of the Vardzia Cave City, Georgia

Okrostsvaridze, Avtandil and Mikheil Elashvili, Mikheil and Nino Popkhadze, Nino and Kirkitadze, Giorgi (2016) New Data on the Geological Structure of the Vardzia Cave City, Georgia. Bulletin Georgian National Academy of Sciences, 10 (3). pp. 98-106. ISSN 0132-447


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The present paper is devoted to a unique historical cave city Vardzia of 12th century of Georgia. It is hewn into the volcanic tuff flow of the Pliocene andesitic-dacitic composition. Thorough geological survey of the Vardzia cave city was carried out. The results of the survey showed that the area has a complex geological structure. With the use of a differential GPS of high accuracy it was established that in comparison with the Erusheti block the Akhalkalaki block is lower by 127 m. The Vardzia complex situated on the eastern slopes of the Erusheti ridge is hewn into the 900 m long tectonic block, which is detached from the main rocks of the Goderdzi suite and is gradually subsiding towards the Mtkvari (Kura) gorge. Exact measurements carried out with the GPS showed that the Vardzia block is lowered by 30.6 m in comparison with the southern borderer block. In addition, the Vardzia block is split into several microblocks by a joint set and thereby its stability lessens. The matter is made worse by the fact that the active deep fault runs along the Vardzia complex in the Mtkvari gorge and presents a potential earthquake source. If we take into consideration the rather strong erosion processes taking place along the Mtkvari gorge, it makes clear that the important monument of the Georgian cultural heritage is in danger of natural gradual destruction and earthquake hazards. The only factor contributing to relative stability of the Vardzia cave city is somewhat harder andesite stratum existing under it.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science
Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions: Faculties/Schools > School of Natural Sciences and Engineering
Depositing User: ავთანდილ ოქროსცვარიძე
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2017 09:52
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2017 09:52

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