When writing this website, we were sometimes astonished about names. Many frequently used terms are actually quite unclear, they are used for different things while other terms are used for the same thing. In English, for example, the terms cave, cavern, grotto, and even caves (plural) are used for the same thing. In American English grotto is used for a caving club. Some texts talk about caverns and use this term for a single big room in a cave. Others talk about grotto and use this term only for artificial caves while there are texts using grotto for shallow or short caves, sometimes it means well-decorated for both natural and artificial caves.

One problem is: we cannot change what is already written, and so we have to explain all meanings. On the other hand, we want to use the same term for the same thing and different terms for different things throughout the website. So we do what science always does: we define terms and use them as defined. At the same time, we explain different uses if they are common for a certain place at the page of this place.

As a result, we have the need for terminology, the definition and explanation of terms. That's what this section is about. We have certain groups of conflicting terms which we describe here and provide cheat sheets for their use.

There are, fortunately, a bunch of very good glossaries on the Web. So please help yourself if you need any explanation to specific terms. Additionally, there are several books about geological and earth science terms. See the Earth Science section for more information.