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Caves and Speleogenesis. The formation and development of caves is known as speleogenesis. Caves are formed by various geologic processes. These may involve.

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Presentation on theme: "Caves and Speleogenesis. The formation and development of caves is known as speleogenesis. Caves are formed by various geologic processes. These may involve."— Presentation transcript:

1 Caves and Speleogenesis

2 The formation and development of caves is known as speleogenesis. Caves are formed by various geologic processes. These may involve a combination of chemical processes, erosion from water, tectonic forces, microorganisms, pressure, atmospheric influences, and even digging.

3 Speleogenesis is the origin and development of natural caves. Most caves develop through dissolution in readily soluble rocks, such as carbonates and evaporites. Speleogenesis can be adequately understood only within the broader context of the hydrogeologic setting and evolution of karst. In its turn, speleogenesis is a primary process that determines essential features of the hydrogeology of karst, and guides its evolution in many ways.


5 Lechuguilla Cave Lechuguilla Cave is, as of 2006, the fifth longest cave (120 miles (193.12128 km)) known to exist in the world, and the deepest in the continental United States, but it is most famous for its unusual geology, rare formations, and pristine condition.

6 Lechuguilla happened when hydrogen sulfide gas bubbled up from nearby oil reservoirs deep in the ground. What caused the hydrogen sulfide to be released was the uplifting of the surrounding mountains, which created deep cracks in the earth over the oil reservoirs. A chemical reaction between the hydrogen sulfide gas and the oxygen molecules in the groundwater created a very powerful acid - sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid ate through the layers of limestone underground, leaving a maze of open cracks and caves. Unlike most caves that were formed from the top down, Lechuguilla was created from the bottom up.

7 These are the largest known gypsum stalactites in the world. Each is tipped with a spray of gypsum crystals.

8 Stalagmites, stalactites, and draperies by a pool in Lechuguilla Cave, New Mexico, USA

9 The Pearlsian Gulf in Lechuguilla Cave.




13 This is an Aragonite formation found in Lechuguilla

14 Bottlebrushes form when Stalagtites are in water for extended lengths of time.

15 Skyline Caverns Located in Front Royal, Virginia, Skyline Caverns is the closest natural wonder to the Nation's Capital. As one of the only places on Earth where rare Anthodites are displayed, the guided tour is as impressive as it is educational. Whether it's your first time underground, or you're an expert, our staff of knowledgeable and well trained guides are ready to answer any question. Individuals, families, tour and/or school groups are welcome all year long... regardless of the weather above.

16 One example of an Anthodite formation.

17 "Reflecting Pool", an optical illusion which forces the viewer to believe the pool of water is many feet deep, when it is only a few inches deep

18 An example of a helictite.

19 Ogof Craig a Fynnon, South Wales The cave is renowned as one of the most well-decorated caves in Britain. The cave contains some early short crawling sections (and what is known as an arduous and uncomfortable boulder choke) and some wet passages with voluminous quantities of mud before developing into a series of large sections lavishly decorated with mud and calcite formations. The most spectacular of these is the Hall of the Mountain King, a large cavern liberally adorned with flowstone.

20 Speleothems in Hall of Mountain King, Ogof Craig a Fynnon, South Wales

21 Finely decorated streamway

22 Fine Straw Formations

23 Severn Tunnel

24 Fine Straw & Helictite Formations

25 Mammoth Cave Beneath the sandstone- capped ridges of Mammoth Cave National Park lies the most extensive cave system on earth, with over 350 miles of passageway mapped and surveyed. And yet after 4,000 years of intermittent exploration, the full extent of this water-formed labyrinth remains a mystery.




29 Staircase tower in Mammoth Dome, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.

30 Canyon passage in Mammoth Cave, the world's longest cave.

31 Did You Know? Creatures that spend their entire lives in Mammoth Cave adapt to the dark world. Some types of cave fish, for example, do not grow eyes – supporting these extra unnecessary organs would consume precious energy in their nutrient-poor environment.

32 Fairy Cave Glenwood is home to many caves, including Fairy Caves and Glenwood Caverns, whose subterranean caverns, grottoes, and labyrinths are truly a marvel of nature (the area was touted as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" upon its public opening in 1887). Now part of the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (think tourist trap), the still-amazing caves are easily accessible via the Iron Mountain Tramway, a seven-minute gondola ride affording a bird's-eye view of Glenwood Springs and the surrounding landscape.

33 Kings row in Fairy Cave Colorado



36 Caverns of Sonora, Texas The Caverns of Sonora is recognized as the most beautiful cave in Texas and one of the most beautiful show caves in the world. The Caverns of Sonora is located on Interstate 10, about half-way between Big Bend National Park and San Antonio Texas. In 1966 the cavern was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior, and is one of the most active caves in the world with over 95% of its formations still “growing”.

37 Caverns of Sonora, Texas

38 Caverns of Sonora (crystal pistol)


40 Halo Lake

41 The Butterfly: Sonora’s trademark formation

42 The Corinthian Room

43 Baby Grand Canyon (note the people)

44 Carlsbad Caverns As you pass through the Chihuahuan Desert and Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas—filled with prickly pear, chollas, sotols and agaves—you might never guess there are more than 300 known caves beneath the surface. The park contains 116 of these caves, formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone, creating some of the largest caves in North America.

45 Chocolate high section of Carlsbad Caverns


47 Pencil stalagtites

48 Columns in Carlsbad Caverns

49 Witch’s Finger in Carlsbad Caverns

50 A Virgin Cave in Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico (Carlsbad)

51 Wind Caves One of the world's longest and most complex caves and 28,295 acres of mixed-grass prairie, ponderosa pine forest, and associated wildlife are the main features of the park. The cave is well known for its outstanding display of boxwork, an unusual cave formation composed of thin calcite fins resembling honeycombs.

52 Special Formations

53 This is Boxwork. It is a type of rock formation found in caves. About 95% of the world's boxwork formations are found in this one cave system.

54 Wind Cave

55 Potato Chips Formation

56 Lewis & Clark Caverns Lewis and Clark Caverns is Montana's first and best known state park. Hidden in the white limestone cliffs above the Jefferson River, 15 miles southwest of Three Forks and 10 miles east of Whitehall, are two dark holes. These openings are gateways to an underground world of spectacular caves that are naturally air-conditioned and feature multi-tiered columns, stalagmites, stalactites, frozen waterfalls and rock icicles.

57 Lewis & Clark Caverns





62 This formation is 96 feet tall. Note the ranger in the picture.This picture was taken in 1975 in New Cave.

63 Mystic Cavern Mystic Caverns is a commercially operated show cave located on the Newton County and Boone County line in North-Central Arkansas. It is near Marble Falls, AR and 8 miles south of Harrison, AR.



66 In an area in Mystic Cavern called the "Ballroom", on the largest in mass formation in the cavern, there is some "cave coral" with an odd shape. It is shaped like the roots that grow on potatoes.


68 Exploring a Lava Tube in Hawaii.

69 Painted Cave, Santa Cruz Island Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island - largest sea cave in the world. Painted Cave, is on the northwest coastline of Santa Cruz, and is so named because of its colorful rock types, lichens, and algaes. Painted Cave is a quarter- mile long and 100 feet wide, with an entrance ceiling of 160 feet.

70 Painted Cave, a large sea cave, Santa Cruz Island, California


72 Glacier Cave in Big Four Glacier Just because it is not a true glacier, don’t be fooled into thinking it is as safe as an ordinary snowfield. Glaciers have crevasses and solid flow features and these same features are the main reason this mass is called “glacier.” If you wander thoughtlessly across its surface you may be viciously swallowed by deep crack or a hole invisibly covered by thin snow.

73 Glacier Cave in Big Four Glacier, Big Four Mountain, Washington, ca 1920

74 One of the “Big Four”

75 Paradise Ice Caves (the water passage)

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