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Wellington Caving Group


WCG caving glossary

termlinks to Wikipediadescription
AragoniteRare crystalline form of calcium carbonate
AvenBlind shaft rising above
Boulder ChokeCollapsed rock from floor to roof which may make further progress difficult or dangerous
CalciteCommon crystalline form of calcium carbonate
Calcium CarbonateCaCO3 Limestone
CarbideCalcium Carbide Ca2C Produces acetylene when in contact with water
Carbonic acidH2CO3, an acid typical of ground water systems, responsible for dissolving most caves
ColumnA speleothem joining floor to ceiling, formed when a stalactite and stalagmite grow and join, or when either grow to meet bedrock
DolineClosed depression
DolomiteCalcium carbonate and magnesium in the ration 70 to 30
DripstoneCalcite deposits caused by precipitation
FlowstoneCalcite deposits on the walls
ExposureSubjective measure of the risk related to an action
also Cooling of the body to below normal temperatures
GalleryCave chamber that is rather large and nearly horizontal
Gour poolsDams of calcite formed on wet slopes, vary in size from 1mm to 5m or more
GypsumHydrated calcium sulphate (CaS)42H20
HelictitesCave formations that defy gravity
KarstA limestone area, Carso, in Triest, where limestone landscapes were first described, now a general name for them
LimestoneSedimentary rock made of calcium carbonate: CaCO3 commonly formed from the shells of marine organisms
MarbleLimestone metamorphosed by heat and pressure
PhreaticCave passage formed when full of water
ResurgenceWater exiting from a full passage
RimstoneA deposit formed by precipitation from water flowing over the rim of a pool. See Gour pool
SpeleothemCave formations: secondary mineral deposits formed in caves, caused by the dissolution of minerals (such as calcite) and their subsequent deposition in crystalline form in growing layers in a variety of shapes
SumpWater entering a full passage
SpeleologyThe study of caves
SRTSingle Rope Technique
Sinkholea natural depression in a land surface indicating a subterranean passage, generally occurring in limestone regions and formed by solution
StalactiteHanging calcite formation
StalagmiteStanding calcite formation
StrawHollow tube stalactite
TomoSinkhole (māori)
VadoseCave passage formed when water has air space above it

Survey abbreviations

numberheight in metres eg 2WF is a 2 metre waterfall
HLHand line
RFRock fall
ttToo tight
ULUpper level
WFWater fall


cordeletteA long sling used for equalising the load on several anchors. Typically 8mm accessory cord of 10m or 20m
karabinermetal loop with spring or screwed gate
prusika friction hitch where a cord grabs a rope
Purcell prusikA prusik-on-a-prusik. An adjustable prusik sling which is used as an adjustable prusik, and by rescue teams in two different lengths by rescue teams for personal security.