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What’s the Difference Between a Cavern vs Cave?

What’s the Difference Between a Cavern vs Cave?

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If you have ever found yourself wondering about the Cavern vs Cave issue, keep reading – we have the answers for you! What is the difference between a cave and a cavern? Many times, the names are used synonymously, but this isn’t technically right.

What's the Difference Between a Cavern vs Cave?

Today we will look at how they are both alike as well as how they both differ so YOU can tell the difference when you experience each one on your own.

What is a cave?

A cave is a naturally occurring underground cavity. There are many different types of caves, including solution caves, tectonic caves, boulder caves, sea caves, and lava tubes.

Lava is a cave-making architect. If, for example, a stream of this molten rock hardens on the outside before its interior solidifies, you could end up with a tunnel-like cave known as a lava tube.

Another way caves are formed is with water. Water builds caves by subtler means, as well. Limestone and dolostone are two common types of sedimentary rocks that contain the mineral calcite. Exposure to even weak acidic water can make calcite dissolve.

Rainwater that absorbs carbon dioxide gas through contact with the air and dead plant matter becomes a carbonic acid solution. This solution dissolves the soluble rock and begins to form the cavern. The movement of the water causes also causes erosion that helps to further hollow out the cavern.

What Is A Cavern?

A Cavern is a type of cave that is formed from soluble rocks and grows speleothems. It might be relatively hard to determine the true definition of a cavern, but checking the location of the opening may help to guide you along the right track.

A cavern has its opening underground and is formed when flowing water carves rocks and causes them to become soluble as it mixes with the minerals found in these rocks. This process is what helps to make what we know as speleothems.

Many people often refer to both a cave and cavern as the same thing, but, in fact, they are different and with striking differences. One of the most standout differences is that a cavern is a “type” of a cave formed naturally from insoluble rocks.

They do have speleothems, but even though a cavern is one type of cave, a cave is not a cavern but is the base on which a cavern is created. The formations in the caverns are known as stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, and cave popcorns. However, one has to be mindful of both caves and caverns.

What's the Difference Between a Cavern vs Cave?

Cavern vs Cave: which is bigger in size?

The sizes of caves and caverns do vary, and it may depend on which of the locations you choose. Numerous caves are larger than caverns, while some caverns are relatively larger than a cave. Bear in mind, where the openings are located, there may have been more rocks either on the surface of the earth that were carved, while some areas have more rocks lying beneath the earth’s surface. But, science may want to have a larger cave, seeing it is the base via which a cavern is formed. Who knows?!

Cavern vs Cave: the differences

  • All caverns are caves with speleothems. A cave does not always have speleothems and therefore cannot be considered a cavern.
  • Caves have a section where no direct sunlight gains access, while it is not the same with caverns.
  • Cave entrances are on the earth’s surface, while a cavern has its opening underground.
  • A cave has one opening, while a cavern may have multiple openings.
  • It is believed life can’t exist in caverns as much as it can exist in caves.

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