Nerja CavesThe Hoffman Environmental Research Institute at the University of Kentucky in the USA will be carrying out a study of the Nerja Caves throughout the summer. The study is designed to find out how much knowledge visitors have about these type of cave formations (known as Karst caves).

The study, led by Professor Leslie North, is being made through a series of surveys that can be completed on the University’s website or by completing paper copies that will be available at the caves.

Professor North has stated that a previous study found that the majority of visitors to American tourist caves had no knowledge about the caves and received little information on their visits. Apparently this is not the case in many European caves.

The university will share the research results with the caves that are taking part in the study to help them improve how they communicate with their visitors.

For those who didn’t know, Karst is a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks including limestone, dolomite and gypsum. It is characterized by sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage systems. The carbonic acid that causes these features is formed as rain passes through the atmosphere picking up carbon dioxide (CO2), which dissolves in the water. Once the rain reaches the ground, it may pass through soil that can provide much more CO2 to form a weak carbonic acid solution, which dissolves calcium carbonate (limestone). In other words the Nerja Caves were caused by acid rain dissolving the rock.

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