Cave Facts

Cave Facts
The term cave refers to a natural void that exists in the ground, which are formed by rocks that have weathered and left a space large enough for people or animals to enter. They can also include rock shelters, grottos, and sea caves. The study and exploration of caves is referred to as speleology. If a person explores or visits caves as a form of recreation this is referred to as spelunking, potholing, or caving. Speleogenesis refers to the development and formation of caves, which can take millions of years. Caves can be formed by erosion, tectonic action, pressure, atmospheric changes, microorganisms, and chemical processes.
Interesting Cave Facts:
Caves cannot be longer than 9,800 feet as the overlying rock pressure will not allow it.
An active cave has water flowing through it while a relict cave does not.
Karst caves are the most common type, formed in limestone, chalk, dolomite, marble, gypsum or salt. The groundwater dissolves the rock with its natural acid over time.
If a cave is formed at the same time as the surrounding rock it is called a primary cave. The most common are lava tube caves.
Caves found along the coast are called littoral or sea caves.
Caves formed by flowing streams that carry rock and other sediment are called erosional or corrasional caves.
A cave formed by melting ice and its flowing water are called glacier caves.
A cave formed by boulders that have fallen down in a random heap is called a talus cave.
Coastal caves that contain fresh and salt water are called anchialine caves.
The longest surveyed caves in the world include Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Sistema Sac Actun/ Sistema Dos Ojos in Mexico, Jewel Cave in South Dakota, Sistema Ox Bel Ha in Mexico, and Optymistychna Cave in Ukraine.
Animals that live in caves are referred to as troglobites, troglophiles, trogloxenes, and accidentals.
Bats commonly live in caves, including the gray bat and Mexican free-tailed bat.
Primitives have used caves throughout history for shelter.
The early humans of South Africa used caves for dwellings as far back as 180,000 years ago. Pinnacle Point is the oldest known site.
The majority of the caves in the world have not yet been discovered. It is estimated that only about 1% have been discovered.
Caves can be open-entrance, closed-entrance, or even entranceless.
It is not possible for human eyes to adjust to the darkness in a cave because of the lack of any light.
There are roughly 14,000 known caves in the TAG area. The TAG area contains Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, which used to be shallow sea.
Caves can be dangerous because they are very prone to flooding. Caves are virtually water highways.
Some cave chambers are as big as entire cities.
Cave crystals can be as long as 39 feet.
People that want to live in caves can do so - and there are many homes around the world built in caves.
Mammals such as bears often use caves to hibernate during the winter months.

Related Links:
Earth Systems Facts
Animals Facts