Encyclopedia of caves and karst science

John Gunn


This is the first encyclopedia of Caves and Karst Science and provides a unique, comprehensive, and authoritative reference source that can be used both by subjectspecialists who wish to obtain information from outside of their immediate area of knowledge and by non-specialists who wish to gain an understanding of the diverse and multi-disciplinary nature of caves and karst science. It will also be useful to cavers who wish to learn more about the environments in which they undertake their sport and to conservationists, engineers, planners, and others who are charged with developing and managing in a sustainable manner complex karst environments. The 351 entries were selected by a multi-disciplinary Advisory Board of leading scholars, all of whom are cavers. The entries cover a wide range of topics and each entry also includes both references and further reading to enable deeper study. While not intended as an atlas, there is a wide geographical coverage of all scientifically important karst areas, the level of detail (continent, country, region, or individual site or cave) reflecting the Advisory Board’s opinions as to the importance of the locality. It is the first encyclopedia to cover all the disciplines involved in cave and karst science—archaeology, biology, chemistry, ecology, geology, geomorphology, history, hydrology, paleontology, and physics as well as exploration, survey, photography, literature, and art. The resources found in caves and in karst areas are outlined, including the underground water that supplies around a quarter of the world’s population. Caves and karst environments are fragile and special places so there is appropriate consideration of conservation and management, including protected areas. Contributors are all leading authorities in their area and all entries were subject to review by the Editor, members of the Advisory Board, or other subject specialists. The term “cave” is commonly applied to natural openings, usually in rocks, that are large enough to permit entry by humans. The