Global network of high altitude research stations and experimental sites for CR studies (Proposal)


The foundation of the Pamir-Chacaltaya ISRC opens a possibility of Integration of High Altitude Experimental Sites and Mountain Research Stations within a unified global network of mountain laboratories operated under a joint scientific program.

We propose to combine efforts of cosmic ray physicists engaged in high altitude mountain experiments and to establish   a  network of high altitude mountain research stations within a Framework of  an International Scientific Research Center for Cosmic Ray Studies.


- A great challenge to formerly constructed mountain laboratories by a rapid increase of a number of new cosmic ray experiments and extension of energy ranges under their investigation which go side-by-side with a permanent sophistication of experimental facilities, detectors and various instrumentation for cosmic ray studies taking advantage of a steady technological progress.  

- Availability of a sufficiently large amount of mountain research laboratories under operation as well as under construction which conduct cosmic ray studies according to independent and non-coordinated programs, such as:  

    • the Chacaltaya Cosmic Ray Laboratory (the Andes, Bolivia, 5200 m a.s.l., 540 g/cm2);
    • the Ak-Arkhar Cosmic Ray Experimental Site (the Pamirs, Tajikistan, 4400 m a.s.l., 600 g/cm2);
    • the Yangbajing High Altitude Cosmic Ray Laboratory (the Tibet, China, 4300 m a.s.l., 606 g/cm2);
    • the Tien Shan High Altitude Mountain Research Station   (the Tien Shan, Kazakhstan, 3300 m a.s.l., 700 g/cm2);
    • the Aragats Cosmic Ray Observatory (Mt.Aragats, Armenia,  3200 m a.s.l., 710 g/cm2);
    • the Andyrchi experimental site (Baksan Neutrino Observatory of RAS INR, the Caucases, Russia, 2000 m a.s.l., 820 g/cm2);
    • the GRAPES experimental site (Ooty, India, 2200 m a.s.l., 800 g/cm2);
    • the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) experimental site (Parque Nacional Pico de Orizaba, Mt. Sierra Negra, Mexico, 4100 m a.s.l., 620 g/cm2); etc.

- High altitude experiments are now becoming an important linkage between direct and indirect measurements of UHECRs providing CR physicists with comprehensive information relevant to intermediate energy range (1015-1018 eV) which contains both the ‘knee’ and the ‘anti-knee’ and where a connection between the galactic and extragalactic CR takes place.

- Mountain experiments having played a prominent role in the progress of both cosmic ray and particle physics are still produce a connection between them due to low number of secondary interactions above a mountain-based set-up and due to high sensitivity of high altitude data to parameters of hadronic interactions, respectively, as well as thanks to a possibility of solving problems related to astroparticle physics.

- Integration of mountain laboratories within a single network under auspices of an International research center carrying out cosmic ray studies according to joint scientific program  will enable cosmic ray physicists:  

Ø     to enlarge the total aperture of experimental set-ups and as a result to increase efficiency of mountain researches;

Ø     to measure cosmic ray flux and over observables at different observation heights, i.e., atmospheric depths using one and the same experimental technique and obtaining thus an unbiased values of attenuation lengths for different cosmic ray components;

Ø to study VHECR phenomena in a wide energy range (~5 orders) around the “knee” using a single or mutually calibrated techniques;

Ø to exchange freely with emulsions, X-ray films, detectors,  apparatuses, electronics, experimental techniques, etc.;