the exploration and study of caves.
Also, spelaeology.

1890–95; < Latin spēlae(um) (see spelaean) + -o- + -logy

speleological [spee-lee-uh-loj-i-kuhl] , adjective
speleologist, noun
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World English Dictionary
speleology or spelaeology (ˌspiːlɪˈɒlədʒɪ)
1.  the scientific study of caves, esp in respect of their geological formation, flora and fauna, etc
2.  the sport or pastime of exploring caves
[C19: from Latin spēlaeum cave]
spelaeology or spelaeology
[C19: from Latin spēlaeum cave]
speleological or spelaeology
spelaeological or spelaeology
spele'ologist or spelaeology
spelae'ologist or spelaeology

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
speleology   (spē'lē-ŏl'ə-jē)  Pronunciation Key 
The exploration and scientific study of the geological and ecological features of caves.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


scientific discipline that is concerned with all aspects of caves and cave systems. Exploration and description of caves and their features are the principal focus of speleology, but much work on the chemical solution of limestone, rates of formation of stalagmites and stalactites, the influence of groundwater and hydrologic conditions generally, and on modes of cave development has been accomplished within this discipline. Speleology requires, essentially, the application of geological and hydrological knowledge to problems associated with underground cavern systems. Amateur exploration of caves, as a hobby, is called spelunking.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
It was designed by educators and experts in the various disciplines of speleology.
The exploration of caves either for scientific purposes or for fun is known as speleology.
Speleology is the science of exploration and study of all aspects of caves.
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