How are caves formed?

Caves have long been linked with the history of civilisation in many interesting ways. In the Stone Age, man lived in caves to protect himself from the weather and wild animals. The people of Greece believed that their Gods, Zeus, Pan, Dionysus and Pluto, lived in caves. The Romans believed that caves were the homes of nymphs and sibyls. People of Persia worshipped caves considering them to be the abodes of God. Today, huge and beautiful caves all over the world have become tourist attraction. A cave is normally found in mountains or undulating areas. Do you know how these caves are formed? It is formed in different ways. When waves from the sea strike the shores, they wash away the soft stones present in between the layers of rocks. This process over a period of time created large spaces inside mountains, which we call caves. Did you know that caves are found even below the Earth’s surface? The water streams flowing below the Earth’s surface are the reason for the formation of these caves. The underground water streams wash away the limestone from the rocks and the voids so created are called caves. Quite often, waterfalls created hollow spaces within the rocks, which ultimately became caves. Such caves have been formed below the Niagara Falls. Caves are also formed by the volcanic changes taking place in the Earth’s layers. Some caves are very long while some are extremely deep. The deepest cave ‘Guffre de la piere st.’ is situated on the border of France and Spain. It is 1310 metres (4300 feet) deep. The longest cave, ‘Flit Ridge cave system’ is situated in America and is 116.8 kilometres (73 miles) long. The longest single cave in the world is the Sarawak chamber in Eastern Malaysia. It is 700 metres long and was discovered in 1980. Mammoth Cave National Park in the U.S. State of Kentucky is the largest cave system of the world about 307 kilometres long. In India, the Ajanta and Ellora are artificial caves and are well-known for their beautiful sculptures and paintings.

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