Scientists Say: Speleology | Science News for Students

Scientists Say: Speleology

This is the study of places dark and deep
Jul 31, 2017 — 6:50 am EST
cave

The study of caves is called speleology. A scientist who studies them is a speleologist.

Khlongwangchao/istockphoto

Speleology (noun, “spee-lee-AWL-oh-gee”)

This is the scientific study of caves. The word speleology comes from the Latin word “speleum” and the Greek word “spelaion,” both of which mean “cave.” The ending, “ology,” means “the study of.”

Someone who studies caves is called a speleologist (spee-lee-AWL-oh-gist). A speleologist might study the rock that caves are made of or how caves form and why. They can also study the organisms that live in those caves. Some even study caves to find out more about the history of the Earth.

In a sentence

Some scientists in the field of speleology study organisms in caves, which might give clues about how life could survive on Mars. 

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Power Words

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Mars     The fourth planet from the sun, just one planet out from Earth. Like Earth, it has seasons and moisture. But its diameter is only about half as big as Earth’s.

organism     Any living thing, from elephants and plants to bacteria and other types of single-celled life.

speleology     The scientific study or exploration of caves. Someone who studies or explores caves is called a speleologist.