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Dripstone

Stalactites and stalagmites are karst phenomena. Dissolved limestone is deposited in large holes in the bedrock. When water rich in carbon dioxide with dissolved lime (Ca) enters a hole, it loses part of its dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2). Therefore, far less Ca can remain dissolved in the water, which results in a precipitation of lime. That creates stalagmites and stalactites in the hole, or even in a cave. These structures ‘grow’ up to a couple of centimetres per year. On the geological time scale, that is very fast. Eventually holes are entirely filled by lime deposits, if the process is not stopper prematurely. Worldwide stalactites and stalagmites occur frequently in caves.


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