Early Cave Development...Passageways

This classroom activity will give students a hands-on experience creating their own cave. Individuals should come away with an understanding of the relationship between water and soluble rock.

Materials needed:

Divide students into teams of 3 or 4. Their task is to recreate a hill in a karst terrain, according to the directions below:

Constructing the hillside:

Now each team can slowly pour water onto their hilltop in small increments. The water will filter down through the hole at the top. The sugar will slowly erode and come out of the "spring" opening at the bottom.

Each time water enters the hilltop a little more bedrock is eroded and will leave behind passageways. As more and more water is added, the bedrock will erode to a point that the surface collapses forming a sinkhole.

Follow up with a discussion about the life of a cave. Starting as small passageways filled with water emptying at a spring and ending at a natural bridge or deep valley.