Thread: Ask a Scientist
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Old 23.03.2021, 16:38
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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From my recollections of the various caves Iíve visited , I would agree that stalagmites tend to be shorter and fatter than stalactites . But I would say there are different types of shape . Whereas stalactites are almost invariably pointy, you get stalacmites with pointy ends , but also rounded ones and crater shaped ends and dribbly looking ones that look like candles . Maybe this depends on the micro conditions , such as size of droplet and speed on impact .
People looking into the issue say pointy stalagmites is because they're close to fuse with stalagmite. Round stalagmites is just water drops splashing after falling several meters. So, good intuition
https://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gol...ctite_long.pdf

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the upper ends of stalagmites are decidedly not pointed like the tips of stalactites, for the fluid drops that impact it do so from such a height as to cause a significant splash, although, when a stalagmite grows close to the stalactite above, it does tend to adopt a mirror-image form, the more so the closer the two are to fusing.
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