Skip to Main Content
Home >> Science & Technology >> Geology >> Groundwater Program >> Learn More About Caves and Karst

Learn More About Caves and Karst

What are Caves? What is Karst?

Karst terrain is formed by dissolution of soluble bedrock like limestone, dolostone, marble, gypsum, and halite. In karst, spaces or conduits form in the subsurface that allow for rapid movement of groundwater. Water moves quickly from the earth’s surface underground in these places. Naturally formed underground spaces that people can enter are called caves. Sinkholes, disappearing streams, and caves are all common features of karst. Psuedokarst refers to areas with features like lava tubes, where caves and conduits have formed, though not through the process of dissolution.

CavesLIVE: Bringing Caves and Karst to Light

Junior Cave Scientist Booklet A world of wonder awaits just below the surface. Amazing animals, beautiful mirror pools, sparkling crystals, domed caverns, and twisting tunnels lie just below our feet in many areas around the world and even on other planets! Caves provide just one connection between our everyday lives and this rich underground ecosystem.

Join us and CavesLIVE for an exploration of the world beneath our feet, and find out how we are connected to these amazing underground resources.

Check out this web site to:

  • Find lesson plans about caves, karst and groundwater
  • Learn about how caves and karst are inextricable connected to the surface
  • Learn about how nutrient and energy sources reach into the subsurface, sustaining thriving communities of biota of all sizes
  • Learn about how people have used caves to sustain life, for their cultural and spiritual practices, and for science education and fun
  • Understand the role of citizens, public land management agencies, and non-governmental organizations in managing, protecting, and conserving natural resources
  • Stay tuned for more information about our CavesLIVE webcast on March 14, 2018

The goal of CavesLIVE is to raise awareness and understanding of caves and karst - a resource that is seldom seen and considered mysterious - and connect it to people's everyday lives.



Junior Cave Scientist Program

We are looking for young speleologists to become junior rangers. In the Junior Cave Scientist activity book, you will explore the fascinating and fragile underground world of caves, learn about Forest Service and National Park Service caves, and complete fun educational activities. Participants who complete the booklet will earn a certificate, and the rank of Junior Cave Scientist.

EXPLORE magnificent and beautiful caves. You will find an amazing underground world just beneath your feet!

LEARN about caves and karst systems and the work that cave scientists do.

PROTECT AND CONSERVE our national parks, forests, and the things that make caves and karst areas special.

Download the Junior Cave Scientist Activity Booklet:
NOTE: This is a publication of the National Park Service. It contains copyrighted material, and is being made available in this format exclusively for non-commercial educational purposes.

Junior Cave Scientist Booklet

Skip to Main Content
Jump to Top of Page