Glossary of Speleological and Caving Terms
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Copyright © Australian Speleological Federation Inc. 2002

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DARK ADAPTATION Of eyes, a change in the retina sensitising it to dim light. (becoming accustomed to the dark). The reverse is 'Light adaption'.
Cave - Biota. Ref JJ
DARK ZONE The part of a cave in perpetual darkness, that lies beyond the Twilight zone. see Transition zone.
Cave - Parts of. Ref JJ
DAYLIGHT HOLE An opening to the surface in the roof of a cave.
Cave - Parts of. Ref JJ
DEAD CAVE A cave without streams or drips of water.
Cave - Kinds of. Ref JJ
DECLINATION The angle from true (or grid) north to magnetic north, at a given time and place.
Survey & Mapping term. Ref JJ
DECOMPOSERS Living things, chiefly bacteria and fungi, that live by extracting energy from tissues of dead animals and plants.
Miscellaneous terms. Ref JJ
DECORATION Cave features due to secondary mineral precipitation, usually of calcite, but also Aragonite, Gypsum, Salt, Ice, Lava and other rarer minerals. Also called Speleothem.
Cave - Depositional Features. Ref JJ
DECORATION TYPES Pendulite, Rimstone, R dam, R pool, Roof crust, Shawl, Speleogen, Stalagmite, Stalactite, Stegamite, Straw, Travertine.
Cave - Depositional Features. Ref MM
DECORATION TYPES Column, Curtain, Dog tooth spar, Drape, Driphole, Dripstone, Eccentric, Floe calcite, Flowstone, Gour, Helictite, Heligmite, Karren, Moonmilk,
Cave - Depositional Features. Ref MM
DEFLATION The removal of loose fine grained material from a surface by wind action. One way of forming hollows that are not karst.
Geology. Ref KG
DENDRITIC In caves, a network formed by the merging of small channels which in turn merge to form larger ones. cf Branchwork.
Fauna. Ref MM
DESCENDER A mechanical device for descending ropes.
Climbing and SRT. Ref JJ
DETRITIVORES Pertaining to detritus-feeding invertebrates.
Fauna. Ref MM
DETRITUS 1. Aggregate of fragments from organic structures as detached or broken down tissues. Small pieces of dead and decomposing plants and animals. 2. Material formed by mechanical breakage or abrasion of parent rocks.
Fauna. Ref KG
DEVELOPED SECTION A long section through a cave, usually from the entrance to the end of the cave, with the centreline being along the usual path.
Survey & Mapping term. Ref JJ
DIAGENESIS Post-depositional modification to a sediment that converts it into rock. Typically involves compaction, cementation and induration.
Geology. Ref KG
DIG An excavation made (1) to discover a new cave (2) to extend an existing cave (3) to uncover artifacts or animal bones.
Speleology term. Ref JJ
DIKE A body of igneous rock that cuts across the structure of adjacent rocks. Sometimes intruding into or exposed in cave fissures and passages.
Geology. Ref MM
DIP In surveying, the angle above or below horizontal of the current survey leg.
Speleology term. Ref JJ
DIP The angle at which beds are inclined from the horizontal, being the maximum angle of the bedding planes at right angles to the strike.
Geology. Ref JJ
DISCHARGE The outflow drainage of Aquifer waters.
Hydrology terms. Ref AC
DISJUNCT DISTRIBUTION The separate occurrences of similar species in separate karst areas. These species are related to a (now extinct) common ancestor that was widespread, & a surface dweller. cf: Distributional relict, Phylogenetic
Cave - Biota. Ref AC
DISTRIBUTIONAL RELICT Relates to a species surviving in an area isolated from the main or original distribution area. Usually a result of broad scale environmental events such as glaciation, continental drift. eg Gondwanan or Pangean relict species.
Cave - Biota. Ref AC
DOG TOOTH SPAR A speleothem, being calcite with acute pointed crystals.
Cave - Depositional Features. Ref JJ
DOLINE Sides may be gently sloping to vertical or overhanging. Size: a few metres to many hundreds of metres across, . See also Cenote, Sinkhole, Polje, Uvala, Solution doline, Subsidence doline & Collapse doline.
Karst - Depression Features of. Ref JJ
DOLINE A closed depression draining underground in karst, formed by Solution and or Collapse of underlying rock strata. Shape is variable, but often conical or bowl shaped.
Karst - Depression Features of. Ref JJ
DOLINE KARST Karst dominated by closed depressions, chiefly dolines, perforating a simple surface.
Karst - Kinds of. Ref JJ
DOLOMITE A mineral, or a carbonate rock consisting of calcium magnesium carbonate CaMg(CO3)2.
Karst - Kinds of. Ref JJ
DOLOMITE CAVE A cave in dolomite rock.
Cave - Kinds of. Ref MM
DOMAIN A biological region of the earths crust.
Cave - Biota. Ref JJ
DOME A hemispheroidal hollow in the roof of a cave, formed by breakdown or salt weathering. Some caves end at a dome.
Cave - Parts of. Ref JJ
DOME SYNDROME The tendency for cavers to go to the known end of a cave, especially when without due regard for the cave itself nor for its contents. Term coined from a cave where the final chamber is a dome and in which the practice was common.
Miscellaneous terms. Ref MM
DONGA In the Nullarbor plain, a closed depression generally hundreds of metres across and often from 2 to 5 metres deep. Dongas have very gentle slopes and flat clay-loam floors. Often contain trees when the surrounding country is treeless.
Karst - Depression Features of. Ref JJ
DRIPHOLE A hole formed by water dripping onto a cave floor. May be a metre deep or even deeper. May form in sediments or rock.
Cave - Erosional & Solutional Features. Ref JJ
DRIPLINE A line on the ground at a cave entrance formed by drips from the rock above. A dripline defines the beginning of a cave. Important to archaeologists in both Rock Shelters and Caves.
Speleology term. Ref JJ
DRIPSTONE A speleothem formed where water drips fall from cave roofs and walls, usually of calcite.
Cave - Depositional Features. Ref JJ
DRY CAVE A cave without a running stream or a lake. cf Dead cave, Wet cave.
Cave - Kinds of. Ref JJ
DRY VALLEY A valley in karst terrain without a surface flow of water. The talweg of such a valley may undulate with many closed depressions, and there may no longer be a distinct channel.
Karst - Depression Features of. Ref JJ
DUCK(UNDER) A place where water is at or close to the cave roof for a short distance so that it can be passed only by submersion.
Cave - Parts of. Ref JJ
DUNE LIMESTONE Syn. Aeolian calcarenite.
Karst - Kinds of. Ref JJ
DURICRUST An indurated surface formed by weathering processes involving cementation of the surface soils and weathered rock by calcite (calcrete), iron oxides (ferricrete, or laterite), silica (silcrete) or other cements.
Karst - Kinds of. Ref KG
DYE GAUGING Determining stream discharge by inserting a known quantity of dye and measuring its concentration after mixing.
Survey & Mapping term. Ref JJ
DYNAMIC PHREAS A phreatic zone where water moves fast with turbulent flow under hydrostatic pressure.
Speleology term. Ref JJ

Copyright © Australian Speleological Federation Inc. 2002

The Glossary of Speleological and Caving Terms is the copyright property of the
AUSTRALIAN SPELEOLOGICAL FEDERATION INC. (ASF) and any reproduction of it either in part or in full, should have the approval of the ASF, and such reproduction should be accompanied by a copyright notice similar to this one.

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