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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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