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Interesting facts about caves. How are caves formed?

BY: Jessica | Category: Others | Post Date: 2008-11-11

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What are Caves:
Caves are natural cavities in large rocks. Most caves are formed because water runs through them and dissolves portions of them forming a hollow path which is called as cave. This scientific name of this phenomena is called water erosion. However some caves are also formed because of volcanic activity when lava flows through them and a few others by earth's natural movement like earthquakes. Often underground streams and repeated flow of slightly acidic rain water causes soft rock like limestone to dissolve. In common reference caves are big enough for humans to enter and are mainly horizontal. It can take thousands of years for small gaps to become big enough to be called as 'caves'. Most caves made by humans are called tunnels.

What kind of animals and plants live in caves:
Shallow caves (less long caves) provide an excellent shelter for animals, both small and big ones. You can find bears, wolves, bugs, bats, dung-beetles, glow worms, grasshoppers, spiders, worms, fishes and all sort of living animals based on its location. Caves are often used by mammals to hibernate in the winter season. Birds like barn owls and swiftlets are also known to live in caves. Bats are very popular in caves and hang up side down, they eat insects in and out of the cave. Bat droppings itself provide a huge ecosystem on the floor of these caves.

Deep caves (long caves):
Deeper caves are very interesting, since light cannot reach in these depths, most people initially thought that these deep caves contain no life. However explorers were surprised to find that there are several unique plants, animals and varieties of fish that live in these caves. Along the process of evolution, these creatures have learned to live and adapt in total darkness, many of them have no pigments ( colourless) and many have no vision. Mushrooms, shrimp, worms, small fish, bacteria and crickets are some of the organisms found inside deep caves.

Types of caves:

* Solutional caves: They are usually formed inside limestones when acidic rainwater and groundwater flows through them.

* Primary caves and Lava Tubes: These caves were formed along with the primary rock. Volcanic activity makes lava tubes which are the most common primary caves.

* Sea caves: These are formed by wave action where sea cliffs are weak. These waves are found along the coasts are are usually not deep.

* Glacier caves or ice caves: Formed by slow movement and melting of ice.

* Other types: Fracture, Talus and Anchihaline caves.

Interesting Facts about Caves:
* The greatest and longest cave system in the world is at Mammoth Cave Park in Kentucky, USA. It has about 591 kilometers (367 miles) of cave system.

* Deepest cave is Voronya Cave in Abkhazia, Georgia with a depth of 2,191 meters. This is the difference in elevation from highest entrance to its lowest point.

* Kazumura Cave near Hilo is the longest lava tube with a length of 66 kilometers or (41 miles).

* Many caves also reveal the history of primitive people and prehistoric creatures that lived on earth. Some also reveal climatic conditions that existed in past.

* Some caves are used for aging wine and cheese preservation even today.

* Species that live their life in caves are called troglobites.

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