Caves are natural voids found in karst terrains, formed by dissolution of soluble rocks by groundwater. They are both the product and the carrier of the progressive dissolution in karst systems, and can provide direct insight into the functioning of karst aquifers, a valuable groundwater resource. Caves are much more resilient to surface processes, thus valuable geological, environmental and archaeological information can be preserved for a long time. Secondary mineral deposits (speleothems) in caves can provide a much valuable terrestrial archive of paleoclimate. This lecture will present the potential of caves as archives of past geological, environmental and climatological conditions, through the examples of geochemical studies of cave deposits and karst groundwater.
Lecture in English.