Cavern Geology Glossary

anaerobic soils: soils without oxygen

bedrock: the solid rock beneath the looser soils of the earth’s surface

calcite: a mineral composed of calcium carbonate

calcium carbonate (CaCO3): a mineral compound that is the main mineral in rocks such as limestone, marble, calcite, aragonite and chalk

calcium bicarbonate (CaHCO3): a combination of calcium carbonate and carbon dioxide (the “bi” represents the two elements of carbon)

carbon dioxide (CO2): a heavy, odorless, noncombustible gas that is in the air. People and animals expel it when breathing out, and plant life absorbs it
carbonic acid (H2CO3): an acid formed when water mixes with carbon dioxide

consolidated: the act of becoming solid. The joining of multiple elements into one

crystalline: made of, or similar to crystal

crystallize: to become crystalline

dissolve: to disintegrate

dissolution: the process of changing from a solid form into a fluid form

erode: to gradually wear away

genesis: the origin or beginning of something

geography: the study of the earth’s natural features, weather and life

geology: the study of the origin and structure of the earth itself

geothermal: of or relating to the heat of the earth’s interior

grotto: either a highly decorated cave, or a decorated cave-like area

hydrogen sulfide (H2S): formed when anaerobic (without oxygen) bacteria interacts with organic material

karst: area rock that has much dissolution

pressurized: subjected to high pressure

saturated: to thoroughly soak with water until it cannot hold any more

sinkhole: a depression in the surface caused by the dissolution of the rock beneath

solidify: to become solid

soluble: capable of being dissolved

solution: a fluid form of a dissolved substance

speleothem: the scientific term for a cavern formation. Comes from the Greek words “spelaion” meaning cave, and “therma” meaning deposit
speleological: referring to the science of caves

sulfuric acid (H2SO3): a colorless, oily, highly corrosive fluid solution that dissolves limestone

translucent: semi-transparent

volcanic: pertaining to volcanoes, being able to erupt