Cave vs. Cavern

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Cave vs. Cavern

Postby Mako » Apr 24, 2007 9:29 am

Debating with someone that I work with and I am having a hard time coming up with a solid source for a definition that identifies the difference between a cavern and a cave.

My understanding has always been that a cavern always has some amount of natural light available - where as a cave is without any natural light beyond the entrance.

Popular usage seems to be an entirely different story - caverns can be a large room within a cave, etc.

Any thoughts?
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Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 24, 2007 9:43 am

The two terms are generally interchangeable in common usage: Cathedral Caverns, Cascade Caverns, Caverns of Sonora, etc., etc.

Large cavities with daylight may often be called shelters.
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Postby wendy » Apr 24, 2007 11:00 am

Phil: This is in the cave diving section, so I think the answers are a little different than for just regular 'dry' caves

Mako: in cave diving a cavern is the portion of the cave that is penetrated by sunlight. In cave diving you have 3 sources of light, your primary, and two back-up lights. In cavern diving your 2nd back-up light is the sun. So there is no such thing as a night time cavern dive, since there is not sunlight, at night caverns become caves.

In cavern vs cave diving training, cavern diving certification has different penetration and depth limits from cave diving. I'm not current on what the limits to a cavern diving certification are right now.

oh and I found this just now:

http://www.cavediving.com/what/start/02.htm

Hope that helps
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Postby Mako » Apr 24, 2007 11:31 am

That does help - thanks to both of you.

With that - it is fair to say that the main spring at Ginnie Springs - referred to as "Ginnie Spring" - is a cavern. While Devil's Ear and Eye are connected by a cave. Right?
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Postby wendy » Apr 24, 2007 11:35 am

Mako wrote:That does help - thanks to both of you.

With that - it is fair to say that the main spring at Ginnie Springs - referred to as "Ginnie Spring" - is a cavern. While Devil's Ear and Eye are connected by a cave. Right?


During the day the main Ginnie Ballroom is a cavern, at night it's a cave. Devil's Ear and Eye both have cavern zones. The eye more so than the ear.
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Postby Mako » Apr 24, 2007 11:38 am

good catch - I recognize that natural light is a key component to the cavern status.

With Ear and Eye - I was making reference to the system that connects the two - not the entrance/exits. Sorry if I was not clear.
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Postby wendy » Apr 24, 2007 12:16 pm

Mako wrote:good catch - I recognize that natural light is a key component to the cavern status.

With Ear and Eye - I was making reference to the system that connects the two - not the entrance/exits. Sorry if I was not clear.


Ya you are right, the area between the eye and ear would be considered a cave, since daylight doesn't penetrate into those areas. I like section in between the two.
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Postby Mako » Apr 24, 2007 1:51 pm

Just noticed the link in your first post - nice find

Again - Thanks!
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Postby NZcaver » Apr 24, 2007 5:03 pm

This topic reminds me of the old (dry cave) joke, "What's the difference between a cave and a cavern?"

About $18 per person! :laughing:


(Sorry... I couldn't resist!) :woohoo:
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Postby Lost » Apr 24, 2007 9:37 pm

wendy wrote: So there is no such thing as a night time cavern dive, since there is not sunlight, at night caverns become caves.
Ginnie Springs Cavern is a cavern at night. Thanks to a 1000 watt HID light hanging over the spring. :laughing:
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Postby gillip » Apr 26, 2007 6:01 pm

From:
Monroe, W.H., 1970. A glossary of karst terminology. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1899-K. 26 p.
"cave. 1. A natural underground room or series of rooms and passages large enough to be entered by a man; generally formed by solution of limestone. 2. A similar artifical opening."
"cavern. A cave, often used poetically or to connote lager-than-average size."
I am not sure if I can agree with this. I don't think I would consider an artifical opening a cave.
I will try to remeber to grab my Glossary of Geology from work tommorow and then we will know for sure.
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 26, 2007 9:07 pm

gillip wrote:I will try to remeber to grab my Glossary of Geology from work tommorow and then we will know for sure.

I can grab my Glossary of Geology which is just downstairs. But it's irrelevant to this discussion. As Wendy pointed out to Phil earlier in this thread, we're in the "Cave Diving" Forum. "Cave" and "Cavern" have very specific definitions with respect to cave diving.

The certification agencies have used these definitions to define a "Cavern" certification, "Full Cave" and various levels in between.

If you're curious about the non-cave diving distinction between caves and caverns, you could start a thread under "General Caving Discussions"!
:grin:
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Postby Mako » Apr 27, 2007 2:25 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:"Cave" and "Cavern" have very specific definitions with respect to cave diving.


That was/is the definition that I am looking for... :exactly:
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