Unlike all the other solution cave features highlighted in The Virtual Cave, speleogens aren't mineral or crystal deposits. Rather, they are part of the bedrock the cave is formed in, that has been sculpted by erosion or dissolved into distinct interesting shapes. The top photo shows anastomoses in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. These ceiling channels were the original small tubes in which groundwater began dissolving the cave. Later these converged to form the larger passage beneath.

The lower photo shows even more pronounced speleogens in a cave in Borneo. These pendants were probably sculpted by flood water erosion. Heavy deposits of guano around them may also have had a role by providing acids that dissolved some of the bedrock.

Choose a thumbnail to see more images of speleogens

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The Virtual Cave

Created: May 3, 2005

Updated May 30, 2016
Author: Dave Bunnell