AUSTRALIAN CAVES AND CAVING was first published in 1972 by Lansdowne Press Pty Ltd, Melbourne. The author, Wolfgang Kahrau, is a foundation member of the Victorian Speleological Association Inc.. VSA was formed in June 1967 by the amalgamation of the Victorian Cave Exploration Society (1957) and the Sub-Aqua Speleological Society (1960). He was the Librarian in the first Committee.

This page is a reproduction of the Glossary of 82 terms which appears on pages 105 to 109 of the Periwinkle Books softcover edition (111 pages). The spelling is exactly as it appears in the book.

Glenn Baddeley

[ Home ]


Wolfgang Kahrau

Copyright © Wolfgang Kahrau 1972

AvenA vertical shaft rising from a cave or cave system but not reaching the surface, though it may meet an upper passage.
BaconA thin sheet of dripstone hanging from the roof or wall of a cave, translucent and with alternating coloured bands.
BedA layer in sedimentary rock.
Bedding PlaneA surface separating two beds of rock.
BelayThe attachment of a man or a ladder to a securely fixed object. To attach in this manner.
Belay PointFixed object used in a belay. Belay Rope Rope used to belay.
BiohermA body of rock built up by, or composed mainly of, sedentary organisms, as corals, algae, molusks, etc. and enclosed or surrounded by rocks of different origin.
BlanketA thicker type of dripstone curtain (bacon) which is not translucent.
Blow holeA hole with a surface origin through which air or sea water blows in and out strongly.
CalciteThe most common mineral form of calcium carbonate and the main constituent of limestone. Has different crystal forms in the rhombohedral line.
Cave FillTransported material such as sand or gravel mud, which covers the bedrock floor or partially or wholly blocks in part of a cave.
Cave GroupA number of caves or cave systems, not interconnected but geographically associated in some relief features or a particular geological outcrop.
Cave PearlA smooth polished and round concretion of calcium carbonite found in and around shallow holes in cave floors. Also known as 'O'olites.
Cave SystemA collection of interconnected caves or a cave with a complex pattern of chambers and passages.
CavingThe entering and exploring of caves.
ChamberLarge cavity in a cave or cave system.
ChimneyA vertical or near vertical opening in a cave, narrow enough to be climbed by means of opposed pressure holds. Chimneying Ascent or descent by means of body and/or limb pressure against two walls.
ChockstoneA rock wedged between two walls of a passage.
ChokeRock debris or cave fill completely blocking a passage.
ClaustrophobiaA morbid fear of being in enclosed spaces.
ColumnA dripstone decoration formed by the jointing of a stalactite and a stalagmite.
CorridorA comparatively level and straight passage which links two or more rooms or chambers.
CrawlA passage which must be negotiated on hands and knees.
Crystal PoolA pool, generally with little or no overflow, containing crystal-like calcium deposits.
Current MarkingShallow asymmetrical hollows distributed in rather regular fashion over limestone surfaces and caused by turbulent water flow.
CurtainA wavy folded sheet of dripstone hanging from a roof or projecting from a wall, often translucent.
Dead CaveA dry cave in which there are neither flowing streams, pools, nor dripping formation.
DolineA closed hollow in a Karst region formed by the solution of the limestone near the surface. It is often rounded and sometimes has a sink hole into which surface water flows.
DolomiteA semi-transparent crystalline mineral consisting of double carbonite of calcium and magnesium. CaMg(CO3)2.
Dolomite CaveA cave developed in dolomite.
DripstoneA formation built up from falling drops, or water running down walls, depositing calcite. Sometimes it can also be aragonite or gypsum.
Duck-underA place where water reaches the roof for a short distance, but can be passed by quick submersion without swimming under water.
Dune LimestoneCoastal dune sands including a substantial proportion of shell sand. Partially consolidated by calcium deposits.
FaultA fracture in rocks with relative displacement of two parts of the mass.
Fault CaveA cave developed along a fault or fault system.
FlattenerA passage which, though wide, is so low that movement is only possible in a prone position.
FlowstoneA continuous sheet of calcite on floor or wall formed by calcium deposits from films of flowing water.
FluoresceinAn organic chemical, which fluoresces green in water, detectable even when present in minute quantities. Used in tracing underground water flow.
GalleryRemnants of an upper level of a stream passage.
GuanoExcrement, as of bats. In certain bat caves guano can accumulate in such vast quantities that it is mined commercially for fertilizer.
GypsumHydrated calcium sulphate; the mineral often appears as outward-curving flowers which have the shape of a petal. The rock is softer than limestone.
HallA lofty chamber which is much longer than its width.
HelictiteA small, twisted formation projecting at an angle other than the vertical.
HabitatThe immediate surroundings of a plant or animal.
JointA plane or gently curving crack, separating two parts of once continuous rock which, however, have not moved relative to one another.
KarabinerA link of steel with one side formed into a spring clip. Used by climbers and cavers for quick attachment to a ladder while resting.
KarstThe typical surface terrain of a limestone region, characterised by an abundance of sinkholes and exposed rock outcrops.
LakeA large underground body of standing water.
Lava CaveA cave in a volcanic lava flow.
LeachingA process by which soluble substances, such as organic matter, mineral salts etc., are washed out of the upper layer of a soil into a lower layer by percolating rain water.
Life-lineA safety rope attached to a caver negotiating a difficult or risky situation.
Life-line ManThe person in control of the life-line (see belay).
LimestoneA sedimentary rock consisting primarily of calcium carbonate. It usually originates through the accumulation of calcerous remains of marine life. As carbon dioxide (C02) easily dissolves limestone, caves are more common in limestone than in any other rock.
MammalsClass of back-boned animals. They give birth to living young which are nursed on the mother's breast, the mammary glands.
PassageA straight, winding or angular cave path of narrow width compared with other parts of the cave system. This path does not have to be high, as only the length matters.
PitchA vertical or nearly vertical ascent or descent.
Pool DepositCrystalline deposits formed inside a pool.
PotA natural vertical shaft open to the surface.
PrecipitationA solid substance from a saturated liquid solution.
ResurganceA point of emergence from an underground stream which had a sub-aerial course.
RimstoneFormed by calcium deposits from slowly overflowing water at the rim of a pool or stream.
Rimstone PoolA pool held up by a rimstone barrier. The barrier consisting of calcium deposits from water overflowing on obstruction. This barrier is mostly curved in plan.
Rock ShelterA shallow cavity under an overhanging cliff, which has no part completely beyond the reach of daylight.
Rockpile or RockfallA confused mass of boulders on the surface or in the cave.
SalinityThe degree of saltness of the oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers, usually expressed as the number of parts per thousand, or the weight of salt dissolved in 1,000 parts of water.
Scaling PoleLight-weight metal pole in short sections for transport fastened together for use and supported by strains of steel cable. This pole is used to support ladders to points which cannot be reached by climbing.
ShaftA vertically developed opening in a cave, wider than a chimney.
ShawlA simple shaped type of curtain, often with a fringe of coarse appearance.
SinkholeA depression on the surface, mainly in cave country. This is developed by a roof collapse in a cave or when the limestone which underlays the soil is slowly dissolved by water.
SpeciesA group of animals or plants, whose members breed naturally only with each other.
SpeleologyThe scientific study of caves.
SpeleologistA person who studies caves in any of their scientific aspects.
SqueezeAny place in a cave which has to be passed with the body in its narrowest position, which is one arm raised above the head and the other near the body.
StalactiteA calcium carbonate deposit which grows downward from the ceiling of a cave.
StalagmiteA calcium carbonate deposit which builds upward from the cave floor as a result from water dripping on the floor.
StrawA thin-walled stalactite which increases as calcium is deposited at the tip of the formation by water dripping through the inside of the same.
TopographyA detailed description or representation of the features, both natural and artificial, of an area.
TectonicRelating to the process which tends to build up the various features of the earth's crust.
TraceA short length of wire with fasteners used with wire ladders.
TraverseMovement a ledge above the normal passage floor or along a vertical drop.
TunnelA fairly level underground passage open to the surface at both ends.
WindowA hole in a wall like a porthole, only larger and more irregular.

[ Top | Home ]

Contact Glenn Baddeley if you have any problems with this page.
Scanned and imported into a text database by Glenn Baddeley on 12 Feb 1998. Updated VSA web page link 3 March 2007.
This page generated from gl2.tsv on 08 Mar 2002 by HTMLGEN version 2.7 of 19 Dec 2001.