The geology of caves and how they are formed

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Caves are found all over the world, even in places where youג€™d least expect them. They are formed by various processes and can be created by different geologic forces. Most of these caves form as a result of erosion, but there are also examples where they were formed through hydrothermal or other processes.
These underground passageways are found in almost every part of the world. The most popular places to see them include Europe, North America, and Central Asia. In this article we will take a look at what kind of geology is involved in creating these passages and how they came to be.

How are caves formed geology?

Caves are formed from different processes. Some caves form from erosion, while others are created when water is forced into the ground. In some cases, the underground passages are created by hydrothermal or other geologic forces.
Caves have a variety of features such as stalactites and stalagmites, “sinkholes” (where the floor drops in) and large caverns carved out by water flowing through the ground.

What are caves in geology?

A cave is a natural underground space that has been shaped by the erosive action of water. They are formed when water wearing away at the surface creates a cavity which can then be filled with other materials, such as sediment, rock debris, and even animals. Underneath the earthג€™s surface, caves are formed by one geologic force or another.
Caves are usually only found in an area where thereג€™s an overlying landmass sitting on top of the Earthג€™s crust. This area is referred to as an anticline. There are also examples of caves being created within sedimentary rocks underlain by metamorphic rocks.

What is a cave and how they are made?

Caves are shaped by water and wind erosion. There are many different types of caves that have been formed by many different processes, but they all share the same general characteristics. If you look at a cave wall, you will see it is made up of three main layers: the overlying surface, the caprock, and the innermost sedimentary layer.
On top of this rocky layer is a soil-like layer that is known as the surface soil or caprock. This soil can consist of sand or silt depending on geographic location.
This soil then forms an impermeable crust over a limestone bed below it. The limestone bed is usually capped with a layer of mudstone which forms into a hard rock known as breccia if there is any rainwater in contact with it. The breccia acts like cement to form an impermeable layer over the limestone bed beneath it creating an underground tunnel system called joints.
The joints are made up of blocks and seams that are composed mostly of calcite (crystalline calcium carbonate). These blocks range in size from centimeters to meters wide, and can be found loosely arranged in various sizes resembling terracotta tiles on the walls and ceilings of caves. Often youג€™ll also find stalagmites growing out from these calcite deposits as well as stalactites hanging down from above them like icicles.

What are two ways caves are formed?

Caves can be formed in a number of ways, but these two are some of the most common.
Erosion: Caves are often created as a result of water eroding into the ground and then cutting through layers of harder rock. This process is called karstification, which means the processes involved go from the top down. These caves form when water flows underground and dissolves away at different layers of earth until it reaches more soluble rocks. When the solution reaches the bedrock, it forms a cavity in which the cave can grow. Another way that erosion is important is when an area becomes heavily eroded and collapses in on itself, creating a cave-like space.
Hydrothermal: Some caves form when hot fluids seep up through cracks in rocks and reach cooler rock near the surface. As this happens, bubbles form that enlarge over time due to subterranean pressure or because they contain air bubbles trapped within them. The expanding gas works like a glue, sticking layers of rock together to create a large passage with room for new growth. If these fluids have access to any chambers below ground, they will also enter these depths and generate passages that connect with both other cavities and other tunnels inside your larger passage system.

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Beth Kent

Beth Kent

Hi, Welcome to my caving world!
I've been caving for the past 23 years, and through these years, I have learned so much about caving life and its techniques. I genuinely believe that caving is one of the most fascinating activities out there, and if you haven't tried it yet, you should!

About Me

The exploration of natural or artificial caverns from casual trips to caves with well-established trails to expeditions into remote and largely unexplored caverns is a great passion for me for the past 15 years. Sharing it here with you is my new hobby so I hope  you enjoy :)

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