Reference work entry
Stalagmites are deposits that grow upwards from a cave floor. They get the name ‘stone bamboo shoot’ in Chinese because they look like bamboo shoots, and they always occur in pairs with a corresponding stalactite. Their location is determined by falling water droplets. Water droplets from a stalactite contain surplus carbon dioxide, and when they reach the ground, the water splashes into numerous tiny droplets or forms thin, wide and flowing water membranes. The water surface area expands and facilitates the release of carbon dioxide. Consequently, calcium carbonate is deposited, followed by aggregation and growth of the stalagmite. The cross-section shows characteristics of sequential stacked cap-type growth away from the dripping water in the centre. This is important for studies of the sedimentation rate, changes in the sedimentary environment and age determination. The shape of stalagmites is controlled by the chemical properties of the water droplets, dissolved substances, drip...
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