Visual Encyclopedia

Cave

A cave is a hollow place in the ground, specifically a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. Caves form naturally by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. The word cave can also refer to much smaller openings such as sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos, though strictly speaking a cave is exogene, meaning it is deeper than its opening is wide, and a rock shelter is endogene. A cavern is a specific type of cave, naturally formed in soluble rock with the ability to grow speleothems.

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Cave Illuminated by Glow Worms

Believe it or not the glow in these long-exposure photographs of a cave in New Zealand is actually the result of bio-luminescent gnat larva living on 30 million year old limestone formations. The blue lights emitted by female larva is believed to be a way of attracting mates. The images were captured by photographer Joseph Michael using long-exposure equipment.

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

Cave Crystals in Mexican Mine

Wow, these are incredible. It took me a moment to realize the orange specks were people.

Contributed by Tori Griffin

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