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Caves are so much more than holes in the ground. Caves hold habitats for completely unique species and environments, stunning geological formations, are storehouses of information about geologic history, and paleontological remains and a recreational challenge for explorers. Caves are formed in many ways, by fissures in bedrock, by spaces among rocks (talus), by coastal wave action in soft cliffs, by water or air movement under glaciers and by molten lava draining out of hardened lava flows. The great majority of the world’s caves occur in a landform called karst, in which spaces have been carved out by water acting over many thousands of years in a three-dimensional maze of tiny joints and cracks in soluble bedrocks such as limestone and gypsum. Passages grow in size through chemical dissolution of the bedrock, the grinding of solid particles carried along by the water, and the collapse of undermined passage walls and ceilings. The surface and subsurface are intimately connected through features such as sinkholes, sinking streams, springs, and sometimes caves. As a result, cave and groundwater resources cannot be widely used without careful use of the surface. Clean water and other benefits therefore depend on clean caves and karst – an important consideration in Canada, where the area of karst is estimated to be 1.08 million square kilometres, over 10% of the total land base. Cave Conservation In the beginning, caves sheltered early humans and were often held in religious awe. Today, though caves are still regarded with fascination by many, their resources and values often suffer adverse impacts from human activities - recreation, timber harvesting, quarrying, development - as a result of a lack of basic knowledge and understanding about how caves and their resources function and interact. The Mission of the Canadian Cave Conservancy We are a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the conservation of Canadian caves, karst and related resources through understanding, education, stewardship and support. To achieve these ends We - - develop, assemble and share expertise in order to improve the base of knowledge and understanding essential to conservation of cave and karst resources; - educate and advise resource managers, users and the general public about cave and karst resources, their benefits, and ways of improving their conservation; - undertake and sponsor projects, develop useful tools, and encourage and support activities by others that will improve understanding and wise stewardship of cave and karst resources; As a federally registered charitable organization, we accept donations, raise funds and seek broad support for the purposes of the Conservancy.
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