See also: Cave (homonymy)
A cave is a more or less deep cavity underground, and comprising at least a part horizontal accessible, which distinguishes it from a Aven, from a Gouffre, of a Abîme…
For the common direction, it is usually about a natural structure, but the Dictionary of the French Academy, in its 1st edition (1694) specifies that it can be “ natural, or made by artifice ”.
The word Grotte would come from the Italian word grotta which replaces in 1537 the word crust , him even resulting from Latin crupta (crypta) who originates in the Greek word kruptein (to hide, to cover).
GeologyCave or Balsam , even Beaume , generally indicates a cave whose access is horizontal and the not very significant development (of which exploration does not require a specific material).
Gouffre (or Swallow-hole or Scialet or Igue, etc, according to the areas) indicates a cave whose access opens in the ground (requires specific material) and presents on whole or part of its development the shape of a vertical or sub-vertical well. The swallow-holes of great depth and/or having a very broad opening receive sometimes the name of Abîme or Abyme .
One says of a cave which it is active if the infiltration of water continues there, thus contributing to the transformation of the cavity (digging, concretions, deposits of sediments…). Certain caves contain a underground Lac.
Fauna and floraThe caves can shelter animals known as cavernicolous , and where the light penetrates there, a specific flora of algae, foams, lichens and ferns in particular. A bacterial and animal biofilm can locally cover the walls and be used as food with invertebrates. One finds in certain deep caves of the tropical zones of the invertebrates, the Amphibians or the fish of which the eyes and the pigmentation of the skin disappeared during the centuries.
Exploitation by the ManThe men Préhistorique S sheltered in caves and used them to paint, engrave or model figures, in particular of animals or zoomorphes. In Southeast Asia in particular, certain caves were used as cemetery with generations of families, sheltering the momifiés or broken up remainders ancestors. Others are for a long time exploited for guano of the birds and/or the bat or for the nests of swallows. Caves were also used as shelter to the pirates, generating many stories of " caves with the trésors". They were also used as masks during the civil wars or soldiers.
CulturePrehistoric caves until psychoanalytical interpretations Young iennes of the 20th century, while passing by the myth of the cave of Plato, the underground or marine caves were seen allotting social, initiatory, religious functions or various symbolic systems.
Thus, the Maniérisme in architecture will give false caves like that of Buontalenti to the Jardin of Boboli of Florence.
Caves sanctuaries, generally quite accessible and located close to the inhabited areas, shelter religious objects and are sometimes matched various legends or beliefs (Lourdes.). The translation anglo saxonne adapted for these caves sanctuaries is grotto .
Many judged natural caves " remarquables" are visited everywhere in the world, often generating significant tourist activities.
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