Unusual and beautiful caves
A cave is a natural hollow space under the ground. Most caves are formed by some type of erosional process. They can form in limestone, gypsum, marble, and dolomite. Caves may also form when earthquakes cause large cracks in solid rock. Ocean waves sometimes form sea caves along the coast.
Water dripping into a cave contains minerals that build up on the ceiling and the floor. Stalactites hang down from the ceiling and stalagmites point up from the floor. Sometimes stalactites and stalagmites join together to form columns.
Caves are sites of many important archeological discoveries such as The Dead Sea Scrolls. Many religious traditions have regarded caves as sacred and have used them to perform rituals, ceremonies, and sacrifices.
Many caves contain unique life forms, underground streams and lakes. Many animals inhabit caves: bats, birds, bears, crickets, fish, shrimp, crayfish, salamanders, worms, snails, insects, bacteria and many others.
Altamira Cave is known for magnificent paintings and engravings. They depict an assortment of abstract images, including a variety of animal species and miscellaneous designs. It is located in northern Spain and was found by little girl in 1879.
The oldest known cave paintings were found in the Chauvet Cave, located in southeast France. Discovered in 1994, the cave was filled with images of diverse animal species, including rhinoceroses, cats, and bears. Radiocarbon dating showed the images to be more than 30,000 years old.
The Lascaux Cave, located in south-central France, was discovered in 1940. Its walls are covered with giant bulls, cows, stags, horses, and a figure thought to be a unicorn. Radiocarbon analysis puts the paintings at Lascaux between 15,000 and 13,500 B.C.E.
The Big Room in Carlsbad Cavern in the U.S. state of New Mexico is about 610 meters long and 78 meters high.
The world’s longest cave system is Mammoth Cave, in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is more than 560 kilometers long.
The deepest cave in the world is Krubera Cave in Abkhazia. Its depth is 2191 m, and the length is 13 km.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand is famous for being filled with worms that glow in the darkness. The nests of these worms are on the upper walls of caves. The nests look like stars in the night sky.
Eisriesenwelt in Austria is the world’s largest system of ice caves. Its length is as much as 42 km.
The largest natural crystals in the world are in Giant Crystal Cave in Mexico. The crystals reach 11 m in length.