Presentation on theme: "A limestone cave habitat or environment is called a karst. The karst environments offer a variety of scientific opportunities to learn. Karst provides."— Presentation transcript:
A limestone cave habitat or environment is called a karst. The karst environments offer a variety of scientific opportunities to learn. Karst provides scientists with a relatively undisturbed window into how the land evolved, past environments, and climate change through the study of cave morphology and sediments. Squire Boone Cave
Karst is recognized as a highly valuable, non- renewable resource that can be especially vulnerable to disturbance, more so than many other land resources. The primary reason for this is the three-dimensional nature of karst. The formations can be broken or destroyed very easily. It takes hundreds of years for the formations to grow. Mammoth Cave
Caves and the land in which they are located are closely tied together. What happens on the surface can affect the subsurface including groundwater and caves. Groundwater pollution in cave country (Indiana-Kentucky) is a serious problem. It is often more serious than surface water pollution. Living things in the caves are very fragile. Marengo Cave
Karst caves, are most likely to be found where there are limestone or gypsum rocks. Caves are formed by water running off non- soluble harder rock. Once the water hits the limestone rock, it quickly finds its way underground through the porous rock. Porous means the rock has holes and small cracks in it. Plants are growing in the cracks and holes in the limestone rock.
Karst is a special habitat in which the landscape is largely shaped by the dissolving action of water on bedrock (usually limestone, dolomite, or marble). Colorado River erosion in the Grand Canyon.
Stalagmites are formations which grow up from the floor of a cave. They are made by water dripping and the minerals in the water building up to form the stalagmites. Marengo Cave
A stalactite is an icicle-shaped formation which hangs down from the ceiling of a cave. Stalactites are formed as ground water containing minerals filters through the earth's layers and drips through the ceiling of the cave. The minerals are deposited as the water evaporates, and over hundreds of years the mineral deposits build up and form stalactites.
Columns are formed when stalactites (which grow down from the ceiling) and stalagmites (which grow up from the floor) actually grow together. Mammoth Cave
Flowstone formations are formed as water flows over dirt and rock, and many times leaves the appearance of a waterfall. A surface coating or layer is deposited by minerals in the cave water.
The word TROGLO means hole. Trogloxenes are animals who sometimes choose caves as their homes. They like to live in holes. Trogloxenes
Some animals who like to live in caves can also live elsewhere. Some examples are shown below:
These animals only live in caves. They can't survive anywhere else. They can not tolerate bright light from the sun. They have lived in darkness so long that their eyes are not functional like our eyes. Below are some examples:
The fact that animals live in caves at all, proves that caves are not isolated from the surface. Food moves into the cave in two ways: it is washed in, or it is carried in by animals. Much of the food inside a cave is carried in by bats.
There are many fantastic tales about bats, and almost all of them are false. They are not aggressive and bite only in self-defense, just like any other wild animal. Our own pets are more dangerous and carry more diseases than bats do. Although bats can see very well, it is their echolocation that makes them special.
By listening for the echoes of these calls, bats are able to find insects in the dark and to fly through dark caves. Thus, bats are one of the few predators on night flying insects, such as mosquitoes and moths. Bats are important in the balance of nature both above and below ground.
Bats only roost in caves; they cannot stay there. Bats must leave the cave in order to hunt for insects. When they return, their droppings (guano) fall to the floor of the cave. Cave crickets, which also feed add their guano and their eggs to the cave as well. Fungus feeds on the guano and the egg shell material breaking it down into microscopic pieces.
Millipedes and tiny crustaceans feed on the fungus. Cave beetles prey on these animals and eat the eggs of cave crickets.
Caves are all around in Southern Indiana. You may have walked over caves hundreds of times, completely unaware of the marvelous realm that lays inside the earth so nearby!