Caves Essay, Research Paper
Formations and Types of caves
A cave is a chamber beneath the surface of the earth or in the side of a hill, cliff, or mountain. Caves vary in size and shape, and many have large openings to the surface. There are many types of caves, such as: ice caves, solution, wind, gravity-slip-block caves, fissure or rift, talus, sea, and lava tube caves. Gravity-slip-block and fissure or rift caves from in areas where there is tectonic movement, generally at faults. Sea caves form in rocks adjacent to the sea, where the ocean has access to the rocks. Ice caves form in and around glaciers in cold climates. Solution caves form all over. Where ever there is limestone or Dolostone and ground water. Wind caves form generally in deserts, and lava tube caves form in some areas of volcanic activity, and talus caves, which form at the bottoms of cliffs.
Caves are formed in many ways. Sea caves are carved by erosion from the water of the ocean. The constant water breaking against the rock causes the rock to weather until it makes a cave. Ice caves are formed by melt water inside a glacier. The ice melts in the glacier and forms openings, and as more ice melts, the openings become larger, and forms a cave. Lava tube caves are formed when lava has flown in channels underground to form a tube of lava, and when the lave has flow out, it leaves a lava tube cave. Wind caves are formed much in the same way as sea caves, in the respect that the wind acts like the ocean in sea caves. Wind in a desert, moves sand with it. The sand acts as an abrasive, and weathers rock, until a cave is formed. Fault-slip-block caves are formed in fault areas, where the pressure from tectonic movement causes the rock to buckle and produce caves along the fault. The final type of cave is a talus cave. This is formed simply by the rocks from a slope above the cave, where weathering causes talus rocks to fall into a pile at the bottom of the slope. The cave is formed by the random layering of the fallen rocks form the cave.
Solution caves like Crystal Cave are formed by the dissolving of rock in ground water that has an increased amount of carbonic acid in it. This carbonic acid comes from the CO2 given off from decaying biologic material, and mixing with other elements in the rocks to form the weak acid. The water finds its ways into the water table, to the zone of saturation, where the carbonic acid dissolves the limestone or Dolostone, and forms caves. These solution only occur in limestone and Dolostone, because they are the only rocks that can be dissolved by the carbonic acid.