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cave crayfish

Cave Biology
Cave and karst resources are valued for the unique and fragile ecosystems—from microbes and invertebrates to cave-adapted fish and other vertebrates—that they house and support.

cave entrance

Cave Entrances
Cave entrances are the interface between two vastly different worlds, that of bountiful food and rapid change on the surface, and the world of geologic timeframes and marginal subsistence below.


Cave Features
Water, minerals, and time can create a wide variety of speleothems on cave floors, walls, and ceilings. Trace amounts of impurities in the water seeping into a cave can add delicate or dramatic color to formations.

people collecting samples in a cave

Cave Science
The study of caves and karst areas encompass an array of scientific disciplines ranging from archaeology, biology, paleontology, meteorology, hydrology, and geology to almost any other field imaginable.

spring flowing from cave opening

Karst Features and Landforms
Karst is a landscape of sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, springs, and other characteristic features. A quarter of the world's population depends upon water supplied from karst areas.

person crawling through cave

Caves provide recreational opportunities to millions of visitors each year. Many people value caves for the inspiration that they draw from experiencing the unique and fragile world of natural caves.

Last updated: February 22, 2017