A list of cave terminology for you speleologists!
Anastomoses - are one of two very common characteristics of cave walls. They are small winding tubes that interconnect and are often found along bedding plane partings. They can sometimes be seen on flat ceilings and are often mistaken for solution pockets.
Blindfish - are translucent fish that have no eyes. Amblyopsis spelaea is the famous blindfish that can be found in Mammoth Cave and could not survive outside the cave.
Blind Crayfish - are crayfish that do not have eyes. They have adapted to the total darkness found in the cave.
Calcite - is a mineral composed of calcium carbonate. Calcite begins to dissolve when carbonic acid from rainwater comes in contact with it. With this process it would take hundreds of thousands of years to form a large cavern within a cave.
Carbonic Acid - is a weak acid formed by the interaction of carbon dioxide and water. It can dissolve limestone.
Cave - is an underground cavity that is formed naturally by the dissolving action of acidic groundwater.
Cave Coral - are small knobby clusters that are formed by seeping water. They are also referred to as "cave popcorn."
Cave Cricket - is a spiderlike cricket that lives in caves and on the surface.
Cave Popcorn - is formed when calcium carbonate found in groundwater forms cauliflower shaped clusters that are on cave walls by splashes from waterfalls. This is also called "Cave Coral."
Cave Shrimp - are translucent freshwater shrimp with no eyes. They are an endangered species that can only be found in Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
Cavern - is a large cavity found within a cave.
Chamber - is the largest type of cavity in a cave. It is considerably wide and long but not necessarily great in height.
Claustrophobia - is the fear of closed in spaces.
Columns - are formed when stalactites join with stalagmites to form a single structure.
Dark Zone - is the area of a cave that never receives daylight.
Domes - are formed by waterfalls in a cave and are holes that you can look up into and see the cave ceiling.
Drapery - is a mineral deposit that is formed when water deposits calcite in thin sheets that hang in delicate folds.
Dripstone - are mineral deposits that are found where stone of the cave's roof has been eroded and water then seeps into the cave's passageways.
Epsomite - is a small amount of crystallized salt that forms hairlike tendrils from floors, ceilings, and walls. They form more in winter months with low humidity and then disappear as the humidity rises.
Flowstone - is a secondary deposit of calcium carbonate or calcite that is precipitated by groundwater. It often resembles frozen waterfalls with sheets of calcite that resemble frosting on a cake.
Fissure - is an open crack in rock or soil.
Fossil - is a plant or animal trace that has been preserved in rock or sediment.
Grotto - is a richly decorated room in a cave with moderate dimensions.
Groundwater - is any water which floes beneath the earth's surface.
Gypsum - is made of calcium sulfate. It is a snowy white mineral decoration that can take the shape of flowers, tendrils, or sheets that can cover ceilings, walls, or floors.
Helictites - have knotted or twisted shapes due to slowly seeping water that causes a thin film of calcium carbonate to stick to the side of a cave formation in a random manner.
Limestone - is made up of shells that gathered on a sea floor and later hardened into layers of rock. It is composed mainly of calcium carbonate.
Mirabilite - is a small amount of crystallized salt that forms hairlike tendrils from walls, ceilings and floors of caves. They appear more frequently during winter months with low humidity and disappear in warmer weather with higher humidity.
Passages - are cavities in caves that are longer than they are wide or high and they may join larger cavities.
Pits - are vertical openings in floors of cave passages that were created by collapsed rock or solutional activity of descending water.
Rimstone Dams - are steplike terraces along streams and on cave floors that contain pools of calcium carbonated water.
Rooms - are wider parts of caves than passages but not as large as chambers.
Saltpeter - was a salt that was mined from caves and used in the production of gunpowder.
Scallops - are one of the most common characteristics on cave walls. They are spoon-shaped hollow areas that have been dissolved in limestone floors, walls, and ceilings.
Sediment - is material that was recently deposited by wind, water, ice, or precipitated from water.
Sinkholes - are "bowl-shaped" depressions that are created by the collapse of an underground cave.
Soda Straws - are hollow stalactites that look like traditional soda straws in their size and shape.
Speleothems - are cave formations or mineral deposits that are formed by the deposition of minerals in a cave.
Spelunker - is a person who enjoys exploring caves.
Speoleologist - is a person who studies the geology, formations and environments of caves and cave systems.
Stalactite - is a cave formation that develops from the cave ceiling and hangs downward.
Stalagmite - is a cave formation that develops from the cave floor and protrudes upward.
Travertine - is a traveling rock formation that is created by calcium carbonate being redeposited.
Troglobites - are animals that live their entire life cycle within a cave.
Troglodyte - is a human cave dweller.
Troglophiles - are animals that like living in caves but do not depend on the cave's environment as part of their survival.
Trogloxens - are animals that visit caves occasionally but live above ground.
Windows - are irregular openings through thin rock walls of caves.