You can also WATCH NOW a 40-minute video, "CavesLIVE: Bringing Caves and Karst to Light", to learn about this rich underground ecosystem and cave ecology, geology, hydrology, and conservation, as well as human uses of caves.
Caves and karst make landscapes diverse, fascinating, and rich in resources, including the largest springs and most productive groundwater on Earth. A total of 175 different minerals occur in limestone caves, a few of which have only been found in caves. Caves and karst provide a unique subsurface habitat for rare animals. Caves preserve fragile archaeological and paleontological materials for millennia. Throughout history people have used caves for many purposes: from guano mining to tourism. The potential of caves as natural laboratories may be their most significant future use.