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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.

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Luray Caverns USDA Forest Service Prince William Network Cave Research Foundation National Speleological Society Cave Conservancy of the Virginias Cave Conservancy Foundation Indiana Karst Conservancy National Cave & Karst Program, United States Forest Service National Cave and Karst Research Institute National Caves Association Natural Inquirer Project Underground Under Earth Images National Park Service FSNatureLIVE: Distance Learning Adventures Crawford Hydrology Laboratory