A sea cave, also called a littoral cave, begins as a small crack or weak spot in a cliff beside the sea. Ocean waves – salty water full of gravel and sand pound against this spot for centuries, slowly enlarging it and hollowing out a cave in the side of the cliff.Know More
Aside from water, rough forces such as wind and cold temperature also help form sea caves and hollow out delicate details like grand arches and networks of small caves that fit together like a honeycomb. Wind has a strong corrosive power over time, just like water, and it rushes through the caves, especially at low tide. Cold temperature freezes water that creeps into cracks along the surface of the rocks. When it freezes, it expands, hence enlarging those cracks.
Sea cliffs made of soft rock, such as sandstone, present the best conditions for the formation of sea caves. Still, the wind and the waves with their repetitive motion and abrasive content, can form caves even out of hard rock.
Most littoral caves span less than 300 meters from the entrance to the end. The longest sea cave in the world, the Matainaka Cave in New Zealand, is 1,540 meters long. The Sea Lion Caves in Oregon have the largest volume of all the sea caves in the world. They are also the longest caves in the United States.Learn more about Earth Science
Caverns are types of caves that have most of their open spaces located underground. Various passageways sometimes connect caves as a result of the weathering of rocks. Caves are hollow areas that are sometimes located within hills or mountains, and they have one or more openings.Full Answer >
Waitomo, New Zealand is home to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a unique natural area where bioluminescent (glowing) worms hang from the walls and ceiling of certain parts of the cave, releasing a bright blue glow in the darkness of the caves. Other features, such as stalactites and stalagmites, make this natural area a popular tourist destination for lovers of natural history and biology.Full Answer >
Sea stacks form as a result of the constant crashing of oceanic waves against a cliff. Erosion creates sea caves out of the cliff, and arches develop over time. As the rock is worn down further, the arches become sea stacks.Full Answer >
The term "eustatic" refers to the global sea level. This is opposed to the isostatic sea level, which is a local measurement that is often a result of tides. Eustatic sea level changes are global, and they are often the result of major upheavals to the climate or ocean basin.Full Answer >