A Stalactite Begins

Michael John

Oatley, Australia

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Artist's Description

A stalactite (meaning “that which drips”) is a type of speleothem that hangs from the ceiling of limestone caves.

Stalactites are formed by the deposition of calcium carbonate and other minerals.

Every stalactite begins with a single mineral-laden drop of water. When the drop falls, it leaves behind the thinnest ring of calcite. Each subsequent drop that forms and falls deposits another calcite ring. Eventually, these rings form a very narrow (0.5 mm), hollow tube commonly known as a “soda straw” stalactite.

This feature was found on the roof of Palona Cave, a rare limestone cave within the Royal National Park, Sydney, Australia.

419 views at 16/10/11

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Artwork Comments

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