Hopefully this is on topic here - I'm wondering if there are names for the different "biomes" that are present within a cave.

Some of these "biomes" include:

  • Open (no) ceiling, sunlit, potentially with trees growing (grotto?)
  • Dark, little to no natural light ("standard" cave)
  • Containing an underground stream or lake, potentially supporting aquatic life

I know little about caves, but they (can) have diverse areas that give rise to all sorts of interesting creatures. Are there any specific names given to the different parts of a cave?

Please let me know if I can edit this question to make it clearer or more on-topic.


1 Answer 1


The Karstic aquifer is vertically divided in several zones. These zones host caves that are typical for them and are also named after them. The zone closest to the surface is called epikarst that is commonly riddeled with karren and also most efected by outer conditions. Below it lies vadose zone that is from hydrological aspect unsaturated and hosts mostly shafts and vertical caves. Epiphreatic zone is flooded occasionally and caves in this part are mostly horizontal, some have water some do not. The lowest is the phreatic zone that is flooded all the time. Passages of caves here are jumping up and down in vertical profile along fissures and bedding planes.

This is only a general explanation to find out more i would suggest this book:


  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate the answer, and this seems like what I'm looking for. Can you provide any links to these things for further reading? I'd love to find something a little more basic than the textbook you linked; I'm just looking for general information. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ OK, here is another one link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-017-7518-2_1 Otherwise try googling it I am sure that you will find something usefull. $\endgroup$
    – Alešinar
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 7:36

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