A cave is "a natural opening in the ground extending beyond the zone of light and large enough to permit the entry of man," according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Caves can range in size from single rooms to large formations with winding passageways that extend for miles. Caves typically form in types of rock, such as limestone, that dissolve in water. It can take tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years for caves to form. The study of caves is called speleology, and the exploration of caves is called spelunking. Caves are famous of their dripstone features called speleothems, the most well-known of which are stalactites and stalagmites. Many of the strange creatures found in caves have adapted to live in near or total darkness — some are blind to visible light. See cave pictures and read about the latest cave discoveries and speleological research below.
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Meet Hades, the Centipede from Hell
The Hades centipede.
June 30th, 2015
Deep beneath the surface of the Earth, in a dank and dismal cave, lives Hades, the invertebrate king of hell.
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Cavers Find Ancient Hoard of Coins and Jewelry in Israel
artifacts in cave
March 9th, 2015
While spelunking in northern Israel, cavers stumbled upon a hidden stash of ancient coins and jewelry from the era of Alexander the Great, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced.
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Underwater Cave Full of Ancient Bones to Be Mapped in 3D
Diver Susan Bird working at the bottom of Hoyo Negro, a large dome-shaped underwater cave on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
June 20th, 2014
A 3D modeling technique allows researchers to stay dry while studying skeletons found in a deep underwater cave on the Yucatan Peninsula.
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Traces of Ancient Earthquakes Hidden in Cave Rocks
A cave in Indiana where scientists sampled for a study on ancient earthquakes.
April 22nd, 2015
Shattered cave formations in the central and eastern United States preserve one of the longest records of powerful earthquakes in these regions.
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How Cave Slime Helps Create Dripstones
Tjuv-Ante’s Cave
September 7th, 2014
Bacteria aren't just tenants inside Sweden's Tjuv-Ante's Cave. The microbes are building calcite dripstones on the ceiling.
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Icicles Galore: Visitors Flock to Apostle Islands' Frozen Ice Caves (Photo)
Apostle Islands Ice Cave
February 4th, 2014
For the first time in five years, intrepid visitors to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore can make the icy trek along the frozen waters of Lake Superior to glimpse the millions of icicles that embellish the region's incredible ice caves.
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Wow! The Most Amazing Images in Science This Week
Leatherback turtle
March 14th, 2015
The beginning of a new era in solar technology with the Solar Impulse 2 and and amur tiger family portrait, spelunkers finding ancient coins and the eruption of a Chilean volcano — just a few of our favorite photos in Science this week.
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'Neanderthal' Remains Actually Medieval Human
Medieval human tooth
December 30th, 2013
Bones found in the 1980s in an Italian cave and identified as Neanderthal actually belonged to a human, or humans, from the Middle Ages, new research finds. The study highlights the need to reassess old anthropological discoveries.
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