UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

1. A hole in the roof of a cave passage that may be either a rather large blind roof pocket or a tributary inlet shaft into the cave system. A feature described as an aven when seen from below may equally be described as shaft when seen from above, and the naming of such a feature commonly depends purely upon the direction of exploration. Many avens close upwards to impenetrable fissures but may still be important hydrological routes; few caves are without them. In parts of France, aven is equivalent to the British term, pothole [9]. 2. (French.) A vertical or highly inclined shaft in limestone, extending upward from a cave passage, generally to the surface; smaller than an abime. Commonly related to enlarged vertical joints. Compare cenote; natural well; pothole. 3. (British.) A vertical extension from a shaft in a passage or chamber roof that tapers upward rather like a very elongate cone [10]. Compare dome pit.