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Mysterious Life of Caves

How Caves Form


Caves homepage

To see how caves are formed, choose one of the four cave-making agents below.

Rainwater Rainwater

Waves Waves

Lava Lava

Bacteria Bacteria

How Caves Form intro image; diagram of coast with geologic layers, limestone, water table, oil pool

Note: The illustration above is an idealized landform, used to show how four different types of caves originate.

Sources: Caves, by David Gillieson (Blackwell Publishers, 1996); The Science of Speleology, edited by T.D. Ford and C.H.D. Cullingford (Academic Press, 1976); Speleology: Caves and the Cave Environment, by George W. Moore and G. Nicholas Sullivan (Cave Books, 1997); "Acid House" by Stephanie Pain (New Scientist, June 6, 1998).

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