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Hydrogeology Section

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Development of a Cave Glossary

Contact: Rick Copeland and Sandra Poucher (National Speleological Society)

In April 2003, the FGS co-sponsored a workshop (Significance of Caves in Watershed Management and Protection in Florida) in which the theme was to provide a form to facilitate discussions among scientist, resource managers, cavers and the public regarding the significance of caves and springs in Florida. During the workshop, it was pointed out that caves: (1) contain archeological and cultural artifacts, (2) can act as laboratories for medical, biological, geological, hydrogeological, and other scientific studies, (3) are valuable tools for the understanding ground-water flow and contamination transport in karst terrains, and (4) because of 1-3, can significantly impact local and statewide economies.

Because of the importance of caves, and because cavers spend a considerable amount of time inside caves, it is imperative that cavers communicate their considerable knowledge of caves in a standardized manner with each other and with the scientific community. For these reasons, it was recommended that a cave glossary, emphasizing terms used in and near Florida, including the Caribbean, be developed.

FGS took the lead in developing the glossary. It organized a committee to assist it in generating the glossary. The committee (The Florida Committee for the Terminology for Cave and Karst Systems), consisted of representatives from the dry caving and cave diving communities plus FGS geologists. The committee decided that the two major purposes in publishing the glossary were to improve: (1) the overall understanding of wet and dry caves in and near Florida, and (2) consistency in the usage of terms associated with caves. The glossary, “Speleological and Karst Glossary of Florida and the Caribbean”, contains over 1500 terms and was published in 2006 by the University Press of Florida .  Information can be obtained at the following web site:   http://www.upf.com/book.asp?id=COPELF06

The Florida Geological Survey does not receive support or funding nor does FGS collaborate with the above-referenced website. The end-user takes on all risk associated by entering said web site.

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Last updated: November 10, 2014

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