Stalactites in the House
By: Rafay Hassan
What is a stalactite?
Reactants and Products
It is formed by three main elements: carbon, oxygen and calcium. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world.
Water is a transparent fluid which forms the world's streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of living things. As a chemical compound, a water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms that are connected by covalent bonds.
The term does not refer to a known solid compound; it exists only in aqueous solution containing the calcium (Ca2+), bicarbonate (HCO3−), and carbonate(CO32−) ions, together with dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2).
The most common stalactites are speleothems, which occur in limestone caves. They form through deposition of calcium carbonate and other minerals, which is precipitated from mineralized water solutions. Limestone is the chief form of calcium carbonate rock which isdissolved by water that contains carbon dioxide, forming a calcium bicarbonate solution in underground caverns.
Type of Reaction
A stalactite and stalagmite also serves as a tool for scientists wanting to gain insight into ancient temperature and rainfall fluctuations. Just as trees record their surroundings, the speleothems tell a story depending on their shapes, sizes, and more. The shapes and sizes indicate deposit rates, which can be matched up to periods of time.
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Stalactite Formation, 2014, Retrieved March 23, 2015 from http://userpages.umbc.edu/~brenna2/Stalactite.html
Chemistry for teens, 2014, Retrieved March 23, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/s/stalactite.htm