Dudley Caving Club

(Formerly Dudley Cave Rescue Team)

Website designed, created and maintained by Keith Edwards.  Copyright Dudley Caving Club 1997 - 2017

Caving and mine exploration are activities with a risk of personal injury or death. Participants in such activities should be aware and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement. Through its association with the BCA Dudley Caving Club recognises that correct training is one way of minimising such risks and provides opportunities for training.

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Initial Cave Formation

The acid rain percolates into the cracks in the limestone beds, flowing down the joints and along the bedding planes.

Most cave passages are initially formed under water, firstly by the rock being slowly dissolved along a joint or bedding plane. As the passages become larger their formation is accelerated  by mechanical action as the flowing water picks up grit and small stones which scour the cave walls.

Phreatic Development

As most cave passages are formed under water the passage walls are dissolved and scoured evenly, top, bottom, left and right. This results in these passages being cylindrical. This stage of cave passage formation is called phreatic development.

Phreatic cave passages (or phreatic tubes) can vary in size from a few centimetres to several metres in diameter.

Vadose Development

When water levels drop the stream will then flow along the bottom of a phreatic tube. The stream gradually begins to carve a trough in the bottom of the tube.  This is called the vadose stage of development.

Cave Origins

Cross section of a phreatic tube