Block caving is group of mining methods that has been developed from the sublevel caving. As its name is saying, ore block is caved by influence of the gravity and drawn at its bottom. This group can be divided into conventional block caving and panel caving that is dominant. Some authors consider panel caving as separate mining method, while there are authors that use term block caving for both variants.
Figure 1 Typical layout of the block caving mining methods 
Block caving methods are used for mining of massive ore bodies where ore is easily caved, not prone to oxidation and has low clay content. Subsidence of the surface is inevitable side effect of these methods.
Key point is to create undercut large enough to induce stresses that will cause failure of the above laying rock mass, i.e. caving. This minimum undercutting area depends on the strength of the rock mass that is desired to cave.
With conventional block caving complete ore block is developed completely, while in panel caving development is done successively with production of one panel.
Animation by atlas Copco
Details are explained in articles to follow.