Stalactites and stalagmites

Stalactites and stalagmites

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Credit: PETER CHADWICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Stalactites and stalagmites. Stalactites hanging from the ceiling of a cave and stalagmites rising from the cave floor. Stalactites are formed by calcium carbonate, dissolved in ground water, dripping through into caves. The calcium carbonate then precipitates out of the water, forming rock. Stalagmites are formed when the water falls from the stalactite onto the cave floor. The process takes hundreds of years. As both formations grow they may meet and join, forming a limestone pillar. Photographed in Tasmania, Australia.

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Keywords: 21st century, australia, calcium carbonate, cave, drip, dripping, formation, geography, geology, limestone, mineral, rock, stalactite, stalagmite, tasmania, underground

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