The Gouffre de Padirac lies at the heart of the Causses du Quercy (Quercy Limestone Plateaux), an immense limestone plateau in the region and a perfect example of karst* relief.
The formation of the karst landscape of the Gouffre de Padirac can be summed up in four key stages: the formation of limestone, fracturing, hollowing, and formation of speleothems.
Karst, karstic relief or shaped karstic, designates an area generally rich in limestone rocks dug by infiltration water. There are many underground galleries, caves and chasms. The word "karst" comes from the Kras or Karst region in Slovenia. It is there that the first karst phenomena were described scientifically.