Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi


  • Mirona Chirienco
  • Aurel Perşoiu
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_32


“A natural opening in the earth, large enough to admit a human being” (White 1998).


Continuous subsurface void space detected by their morphology and thermal behavior that is distinct from the surrounding terrain.


  1. (1)

    Solution caves.

  2. (2)

    Volcanic caves.

  3. (3)

    Caves formed by mechanical processes (talus or tectonic caves).

  4. (4)

    Glacier caves.

  5. (5)

    Ice caves. For further types, see White and Culver (2012).



  1. (1)

    Solution caves that form as rocks (limestone, dolomite, gypsum) are dissolved by acids (e.g., carbonic or various organic and inorganic acids) (Katzer 1909; Vahrushev 2009), along fissures, cracks, joints, bedding planes, etc. (e.g., Grund 1910; Cvijič 1924; see also Ford and Williams 2007, for a detailed discussion).

  2. (2)
    Volcanic caves (e.g., lava tube caves (Fig. 1), also called   lava tubes) are produced by the fast solidification of the upper (i.e., outer) surface of the moving lava while the inner part might flow out and leave...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science and Technology GroupOkinawa Institute of Science and TechnologyOnna-son, OkinawaJapan
  2. 2.Stable Isotope LaboratoryŞtefan cel Mare UniversitySuceavaRomania