One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A mound or tapering column rising from the floor of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water and often uniting with a stalactite.
pillar, columnView synonyms
- ‘Originally formed by a subterranean stream, then flooded by the sea, it is a rare opportunity to dive in salt water among stalactites and stalagmites.’
- ‘It's worth walking the wooden track among the stalactites and stalagmites deep inside the hill.’
- ‘He has also shown through his research that stalagmites in caves do not require a long time to form.’
- ‘At Lehman Caves, sign up early for one of the guided tours through an otherworldly half mile of stalactites, stalagmites, and twisting, straw-shaped helictites.’
- ‘Only the tops of a few mountains were left above water, and some of these became the Balearic Islands, with limestone caves full of stalagmites and stalactites.’
- ‘The composition of stalactites and stalagmites depends on the salts present in the water that flows over them which, in turn, depends on the types of rocks over which the water previously passed.’
- ‘I vaguely make out outlines of stalagmites and stalactites connecting floor to ceiling, but little else.’
- ‘The cave has some fantastic formations of great geological interest - stalactites, stalagmites, stalactones, cave pearls, ‘cave milk’.’
- ‘There were numerous pools of boiling lava, and stalactites and stalagmites joined to form crude natural columns.’
- ‘Stalactites and stalagmites connect floor to ceiling.’
- ‘There were rudimentary stalactites and stalagmites protruding from ceiling and floor, like the teeth of some gargantuan creature's mouth.’
- ‘In addition to wild orchids at every turn, the island has some of the largest coastal limestone caverns in the South Pacific, with stalactites and stalagmites forming monster jaws you can walk between.’
- ‘Rain and sea spray shaped this limestone into cliffs and tunnelled into the rock, creating numerous caves in which calcium deposits formed surprisingly shaped stalactites and stalagmites.’
- ‘There are fine straw stalactites, tall and graceful columns and numerous stalagmites sprouting up from the floor, with the splendid scene all carefully illuminated.’
- ‘Speleothems (stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone) usually display a layered or banded structure in cross section, not unlike growth rings in a tree.’
- ‘The growth rate of stalactites and stalagmites in many caves today is of course quite slow.’
- ‘Water dripped onto the cave floor from hanging purple stalactites, emerald stalagmites rose from the floor and everywhere evidence of supernatural beauty lingered.’
- ‘Icicles, stalactites, stalagmites, lava tubes, and some crystals may be considered cylindrical, but the rest of the nonbiotic Universe has other shapes.’
- ‘Meanwhile, souvenir-snatching tourists add to the damage, breaking limestone stalagmites and stalactites from cave floors and ceilings.’
- ‘The cave is millions of years old and there are many stalagmites and stalactites that still drip.’
Late 17th century: from modern Latin stalagmites, from Greek stalagma ‘a drop’, based on stalassein (see stalactite).
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