Stalagmites and Stalactities

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Stalagmites and Stalactites The stalactites and stalagmites are rock formations found that occur in limestone caves. The rain water seeping through the rock and water that evaporates inside the cave, make the roof of the cave wet, this moisture slowly precipitated again dragging some minerals. Stalactites are formed from rainwater. Rainwater is very acidic even without the pollution in the air. When it rains, tiny raindrops are formed. The raindrops dissolve carbon dioxide gases in the air and form a weak carbonic acid. The raindrops then seep into the ground. The groundwater eats away at the calcite in the earth. Calcite is the main mineral in limestone rock. The acid dissolves the limestone and makes designs in the rock. Flowing acidy water can carve a cavern underground. The underground water moves the dissolved calcite and deposits in a different place. When the water leaks into the ground it may hang on the ceiling of the cave as a droplet. This droplet is known as a minute mineral particle. As the droplet evaporates, it deposits the calcite on the ceiling or the floor of the cave. The next droplet that leaks in will create a build up of the calcite. This build up is what forms the stalactite or stalagmite. This is a very slow process; it takes about 100 to 150 years to form 2.5 cm of rock. So the caves with large formations, has taken thousands of years to create, depends on how fast the droplets of water leak. The shapes are very diverse, some seem columns or trees, or other seems sculptures. Some stalactites are long and thin and some are very large. How the droplets form determines the type of formation that will occur. There are different types like the icicle stalactites that resemble the ones that hang off the roof in wintertime. They have a wide base. Straw stalactites form with a hollow center. As the water drips through the straw it deposits

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