Soda Straw Stalactite by julianneovie

Soda Straw Stalactite

The stalactite, when hollow and only one drop wide, is called a SODA STRAW STALACTITE because of the resemblance to a soda straw. Most soda straws have a short life span. The central tube tends to plug causing the carbonic acid to run in a thin film down the outside of the soda straw. Calcite continues to be deposited but now the deposition is on the outside of the speleothem, causing the soda straw to become larger in diameter; fat and longer, not skinny and longer. Those soda straws that continue to grow as narrow tubes eventually break under their own weight. One of the longest known soda straws is in Kartchner Caverns in Arizona. It is 23 feet long, still growing, and only as wide as a drop of water and hollow.

If the flow of carbonic acid from ceiling of a cave is too rapid for growth of a stalactite or soda straw, the liquid will drop to the floor of the cave where a STALAGMITE will form. Stalagmites tend to be much broader, flatter and more round than stalactites because the drop will disperse when it hits the floor. This spreads the carbonic acid over a much greater area. Often, only a stalagmite will be found because the flow is always too great to allow formation of a stalactite. If both a stalactite and stalagmite form, they will eventually join together to create a COLUMN.
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