Encyclopedia > Stalactite

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A stalactite is a deposit of calcium carbonate which hangs from the ceiling or wall of a limestone cave and is formed by the dripping of mineralized solutions. The corresponding formation on the floor underneath a stalactite is known as a stalagmite. The term "stalactite" is derived from the Greek meaning to fall in drops; "stalagmite," from the Greek meaning that which drops.

To remember which hangs from the ceiling (stalactite) and which comes up from the floor (stalagmite) think of:

  • Stalactite is stretched "tite" (tight) by hanging from the ceiling.
  • Stalagmite pushes up with all its "mite" (might) from the floor.

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