Caves occur everywhere on our planet, from the tropics to the high latitudes and from below sea level to alpine settings. Cave morphologies provide clues to their formation mechanisms, and their iconic mineralogical features-stalagmites and stalactites-carry a wealth of paleoenvironmental information encoded in their geochemistry and mineralogy. Recent work demonstrates a striking improvement in our ability to decode these paleoenvironmental proxies, and dramatic geochronological advances enable higher resolution records that extend further back in geologic time. Cave research addresses an ever-increasing range of geoscience problems, from establishing the timing and mechanisms of climate change to uncovering detailed records of geomagnetic field behavior.
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