Lava tubes and channels forming lava distributaries have been recognized from different parts of western Deccan Volcanic Province (DVP). Openings of smaller dimension have been documented from the pāhoehoe flows around Pune, in the western DVP. A small lava cave is exposed in Ghoradeshwar hill, near Pune. Detailed field studies of the physical characteristics, structure and morphology of the flows hosting the lava tube has been carried out. This is the first detailed documentation of a lava cave from the DVP. The lava cave occurs in a compound pāhoehoe flow of Karla Formation, characterized by the presence of lobes, toes and small scale features like squeeze-ups. Field observations and measurements reveal that the dimensions of the cave are small, with low roof and a maximum width of 108 cm. The cave morphology along the 20 m passage varies from circular to semi-circular, with a twilight zone to the north. The gentle micro-topography at Ghoradeshwar controlled the advancement of pāhoehoe lobes and toes within the sheet lobe. The pre-flow gradients towards the north led to the progression of flow from the east, where the cave opening is presently seen. Dimensions and related morphology of the lava cave suggest that it can be best described as a small sub-crustal cave formed by draining of an inflated of pāhoehoe lava lobe. At Ghoradeshwar, besides the natural lava cave, Buddhist caves carved in pāhoehoe lava flows are also observed, indicating that early man took advantage of the existing openings in pāhoehoe flows and sculpted the caves to suit their requirements.



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