speleology (spēlēŏlˈəjē) [key], systematic exploration of caves, popularly called spelunking. It includes the measuring and mapping of caves and reporting on the flora and fauna found in them. One application of speleology is the tracing of the movement of underground waters to prevent water pollution.
See R. Pinney, The Complete Book of Cave Exploration (1962); D. R. McClurg, The Amateur's Guide to Caves and Caving (1973); W. R. Halliday, American Caves and Caving (1974); R. D. Ford, ed., The Science of Speleology (1976).
More on speleology from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Geology and Oceanography