Atmosphere And Weather

The Connection between Rain and Limestone Caves

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"The Connection between Rain and Limestone Caves"
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A cave formation arises whenever rain water soaks in carbon dioxide and it converted into acid. The chemical reaction necessary, consists of acidic rain water within the limestone foundation. This acidic rain water is then soaked into the earth. While the rain water progresses throughout the earth it soaks in the additional carbon dioxide coexisting within deceased plant life. The compound then transforms the soil water into a fainter formula of carbonic acid. The compound then moves underground and develops into solid rock. If that rock is limestone or dolomite it is possible for a cave to develop.   

Limestone has a chemical response to the acidic rainwater and gradually, a greater area will develop, due to the rocks consistence of calcium carbonate. This can also be referred to as chemical erosion. Over time as the area gets greater, the water can then stream more successfully, and as it is doing so; it erodes. This process is responsible for the caves massive size and for the development of underground rivers. These occurrences date back millions of years, where caves were first developed.

Limestone caves are the most widespread around the globe and inhibit some of the most breathtaking cave formations. The majority of limestone caves were molded upon ancient ocean floors. Limestone is primarily compounded by mineral calcium carbonate, and the ocean floors are littered with it. Calcium carbonate is generated from the remains of marine bacteria lying on the ocean floor. Limestone is very easily liquefied, and when the rain water collects carbon dioxide in the air; a diluted mixture of carbonic acid is created. Over time, water containing this mixture is capable of dissolving limestone, causing a cave formation.     

This equivalent water compound that liquefied the calcium carbonate is also capable of passing it through different regions of the cave, producing cave formations known as speleothems. These along with stalactites, stalagmites and various other formations are frequently located in a limestone cave.

Recent studies have determined that a few distinguished caves weren’t actually constructed from carbonic acid. It was determined that oil consuming bacteria that lied hidden inside the earth, produced hydrogen sulfide; which emerged and blended with ground water generating sulfuric acid. Concluding that sulfuric acid was responsible for liquefying the limestone and developing the cave.

Still, since the limestone is liquefied to some degree and deposited in different regions, this makes these particular caves fall under the solutional cave category. There are other solutional caves, although they are not as common. Other caves that fall under this category are molded from a different species of rock such as, marble, gypsum and chalk.

Some may refer to limestone caves as caverns. This is mainly due to their size. For limestone caves are some of the deepest and longest caves around the globe, which also makes them the most philosophical. Limestone caves are a part of history; pages from an ancient script written out in an assortment of awe-inspiring formations. If you have yet to see one, or explore its wonder, then you have no idea what you are missing. Limestone caves can be found all around the world, and they are worth checking into. Exploring these caves, makes you feels as if you have traveled through time, and in a way; you have done just that.

More about this author: Melissa Mercer

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