Caves are created by water dripping through limestone rock. As water meets
the limestone rock it dissolves the rock and picks up minerals. When this
water evaporates it leaves a hard mineral called calcium carbonate. Over
hundreds of years, calcium carbonate accumulates to form stalactites, stalagmites,
columns and curtains.
grow from the ceiling down. Remember "stalactites stick tight to
grow from the floor up. The base of a stalagmite is thicker than the
is formed when a stalactite meets a stalagmite.
is formed when water flows down a sloped ceiling. A thin layer of rock
is formed. If you get a chance to shine light through a curtain, you
can see through it!
reaches the interior of a cave. Without light, no plants can exist inside
the cave. Compared to above ground, little food is available in a cave.
Cave animals are small, cold-blooded and usually colorless. These animals
require little food. Cave animals usually have poor eyesight. To help
them find food in the dark, they have well developed senses of taste,
smell and touch.
(TROG-lo-bite) is a cave animal that spends its entire life in a cave.
The blind cavefish and amphipod are troglobites. Some animals visit caves
but also spend time above ground. These organisms are called trogloxenes
(TROG-lo-zeens). Some bats and frogs are trogloxenes.
are formed by water, pollution of surface and ground water can lead to
destruction of the cave and organisms that live in it.
a library book and read about caves. An Internet site that can provide
more information about this habitat and cave organisms can be found at
Illinois caves http://www.inhs.uiuc/edu/~sjtaylor/cave/biospeleol.html