A cave is a hollow place in the ground, specifically a natural space large enough for a human to enter. Caves form naturally by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. The word cave can also refer to much smaller openings such as sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos, though strictly speaking a cave is exogene, meaning it is deeper than its opening is wide, and a rock shelter is endogene. A cavern is a specific type of cave, naturally formed in soluble rock with the ability to grow speleothems.
Speleology is the science of exploration and study of all aspects of caves and the cave environment. Visiting or exploring caves for recreation may be called caving, potholing, or spelunking.