stalactite and stalagmite

stalactite and stalagmite

Elongated forms of various minerals deposited from solution by slowly dripping water. A stalactite hangs like an icicle from the ceiling or side of a cavern. A stalagmite rises from the floor of a cavern. The two are not necessarily paired; when they are, continual elongation of one or both may eventually join them into a column. The dominant mineral in such deposits is calcite (calcium carbonate), and the largest displays are formed in caves of limestone and dolomite.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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