Speleogenesis is the theory about origin and development of caves, the primary process that determines essential features of the cave.

The word speleogenesis consists of speleo, Greek for cave, and genesis, formation. It is therefore the speleological term for the geological, chemical, biological and physical processes that lead to the formation of caves. In other words, it is that part of speleology which deals with the formation of the cavity, but not with the contents of the caves. There are explanations of the term, for example the Wikipedia page, which explain that it is about limestone dissolution and the formation of karst caves, which is actually correct. It is the most important and probably the best researched part of speleogenesis, simply because the majority of caves are karst caves. Nevertheless, this description is not complete. Speleogenesis deals with the formation of all kinds of natural underground cavities.