The Commission on Volcanic Caves is an integral unit of the International Union of Speleology and was granted full Commission status by the IUS in 1993 and upholds the high standards of its parent organization. It meets during international congresses of speleology and during international symposiums on vulcano-speleology. The first symposium was held in the USA in 1972 and since 1998, the symposiums have been held every two years. Locations of recent symposiums include Hawaii, Ecuador (Galapagos Islands), Korea, Jordan, Australia, Mexico, Portugal (Azores), Mexico, Iceland and Spain (Canary Islands).

The basic mission of the Commission is to advance the scientific exploration, study, and preservation of caves and related features in volcanic rock throughout the world. It seeks to bring together all persons, organizations, and agencies with interests in volcanic caves, their features, and their environments. Its members include are leading vulcano-speleologists from around the world. Members are expected to keep the Commission informed about progress and problems developments and issues in vulcano-speleology and to disseminate relevant information to other interested speleologists.

The Commission collects and disseminates information through its Newsletter, through organising international symposia/ symposiums, (whichever) informal exchange visits, and through data compilation in a world data base on lava tube caves at Arizona State University (USA). Currently this world data base contains information on more than 2000 lava tube caves in 40 countries. The Commission’s Newsletter is usually published about times each year. In addition to current information it contains reports and abstracts. All issues are available on the Vulcanospeleology Website ( and it is also archived in the UIS library and at two U.S. Geological Survey libraries and is also abstracted in Volcano Quarterly.