a large hole in the side of a hill or under the ground
Origin and usage
The word cave is derived, via Old French, from the Latin ‘cavea’ meaning ‘hollow place’, which comes from ‘cavus’ meaning ‘hollow’. Cave was first recorded in English in the early 13th century.
Cave refers to a large hole or hollow place in the side of a mountain or hill or under the ground. There are many different types of caves, and caves can be found all over the world.
A solutional cave is the most common and is formed when the natural acid found in groundwater slowly eats away at the surface of a rock over thousands of years.
A primary cave is formed at the same time as the rock surrounding it, usually during volcanic eruptions. When the hot lava cools, it leaves large spaces inside as it hardens.
A sea cave, sometimes called a littoral cave, is found along rocky coastlines. As sea water and waves cut into the rock, caves are formed.
An erosional cave or corrasional cave is made by the process of erosion. Moving water, like streams or rivers, carry rocks and dirt that slowly wear down rock and form caves.
A glacier cave forms when melting ice and water creates holes under and within glaciers.
A fracture cave is formed when layers of soft rock held within stronger rock break apart and slide away.
A talus cave is a pile of large rocks or boulders that have fallen on top of one another, leaving a space or opening inside the heap.
An anchialine cave is usually found along the coast and contains a mixture of fresh water and sea water.
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.
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