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Amber Inclusion/ Stalactite

When entering limestone caves, you might encounter formations or speleothems called stalactites hanging on the ceiling or walls. These stalactites results from calcium carbonate and other mineral depositions which are then hastened by mineralized water solutions. The term stalactite is derived from the Greek words stalaktos which means dropped or dripping. Stalactites are also known as dripstones. Mineralized formations found on the floor are called stalagmites. Stalactites and stalagmites can unite together forming a pillar or column.

How are stalactites formed?

A single drop of mineral-laden water begins the formation of stalactites. The drop of mineral-laden water will leave behind a very thin ring of calcite. For every drop, another calcite ring will be added and will in due course form a hollow tube commonly called a "soda straw". Soda straws are narrow measuring only about half a millimeter. They can grow longer but will be delicate. When the hollow tube is filled by dirt or debris, the mineral-laden water will overflow. Upon overflowing, more calcites will be deposited which will then form a stalactite that is cone-shaped.

The longest known stalactite measures twenty meters. It is found in Brazil, hanging in the Chamber of Rarities at the Gruta Rei do Mato.

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