The meaning of the words "karst cave". What it is?

What is the meaning of the words "karst cave"? How did these beautiful natural objects form? The answers to these questions can be found in this article. In addition, here we list the longest in the world karst caves (photo of these underground voids you can also see). Curiously, most of them are located in the US.

The cave is ... The meaning of the words "karst cave"

These underground voids from the most ancient timesserved as a dwelling for animals, as well as primitive people. They hid them from the cold and wild predators. It is interesting that the caves are found not only on Earth, but also on the Moon, Mars. Let us first clarify the meaning of the words "karst cave".

the meaning of the words karst cave

This phrase consists of two parts: "cave" and "karst".

  • A cave is any underground cavity of natural origin.
  • Karst is both a process and the result of the destruction (dissolution) of certain rocks by aggressive (by chemical composition) groundwater.

The term "karst" itself occurs either from the German word karst, or from the name of the plateau in Slovenia (Kras), where these natural phenomena manifest themselves particularly strongly.

What is a karst cave?

This type of cave is most common among all other underground cavities. What is a karst cave and how is it formed?

There are two main definitions. According to the first, this is a natural cavity (emptiness) in the upper part of the earth's crust, which is connected to its surface by one or several entrances. According to the second definition, the karst cave is an underground cavity of natural origin, which is not illuminated by the Sun, but is accessible for penetration from the outside.

what is a karst cave

The caves are studied by special science - speleology, the material for which is often extracted by so-called speleotourists.

How are karst caves formed?

Caves of this type are formed by exogenousprocesses, namely, due to the dissolution of rocks by water. It is worth noting that the karst caves are present only in those areas of the Earth, where there are unstable rocks that are easily dissolved by water. Among them - gypsum, salt, chalk (kaolin), dolomite, marble and limestone.

Worst of all is the destruction of limestone andmarble. Caves in these rocks are formed very long. On the other hand, they have survived better than others. For example, gypsum caves are very often destroyed and collapsed.

An important role in the formation of undergroundemptiness is played not only by the chemical composition of water (it should have an elevated concentration of carbon dioxide), but also the presence of cracks and long faults in the earth's interior. They, as a rule, are those axial lines along which caves are formed.

Most of the caves studied are systemsrelict type. This means that the water has already left these underground cavities. Nevertheless, she is the sculptor who forms the internal "microrelief" of the cave. Underground water, saturated with sulfates and carbonates, deposits them on walls, floors and arches of underground cavities. This is how we form what we call stalactites and stalagmites. Very often, these outgrowths acquire strange and bizarre forms that look even more unusual in the gloom.

karst cave is

The main types of caves

By the mechanism of genesis (formation), in addition to karst, tectonic, volcanic, erosive, and glacial caves are also isolated.

Underground cavities are also classified in size (by total length and depth), and also by the type of rocks in which they are formed. So, there are caves:

  • limestone;
  • gypsum;
  • Cretaceous;
  • salt;
  • caves in conglomerates and so on.

TOP-5 of the longest caves of the planet

Four of the world's five longest caves are located in the US, another one in Ukraine.

Cave Mamontov (about 630 km) - the longestcave system of the Earth. It was formed in limestones 10 million years ago. Every year the length of the cave increases, as speleologists explore its new corridors.

Cave Jewell (257 km) - is located in South Dakota, near the town of Custer. Its unique feature is calcite crystals, which cover the walls of all underground corridors with a thick layer.

Optimistic Cave (231 km) - a multilevel network of labyrinths in Ukraine (in the Ternopil region), the largest underground system in Eurasia. Formed in gypsum.

karst caves photo

Cave Wind (217 km) is another American natural wonder, which is known for its patterns on vaults resembling bees.

The Lechugia Cave (207 km) is a plaster cave in the USA (New Mexico State), the business card of which are unusual "luster" formations, reaching up to 5-6 meters in diameter.


Well, now you know the meaning of the words "karstcave. "This is a subterranean cavity of natural origin that has one or more outcrops to the surface.All caves are classified by speleologists in size, genesis mechanism, and also in the rocks in which they are laid (formed).

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