Stalactites in the House

By: Rafay Hassan

What is a stalactite?

Stalactites are extented forms of various minerals deposited from solution by slowly dripping water. A stalactite hangs like an icicle from the ceiling or sides of a cave. A stalagmite appears like an inverted stalactite, rising from the floor of a cavern.

Balanced Equation

CaCO3 (s) + H2O (l) + CO2 (aq) → Ca(HCO3)2 (aq)

Calcium Carbonate + Water + Carbon Dioxide → Calcium Bicarbonate

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Reactants and Products


Calcium Carbonate

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.

Hydrogen Oxide

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.

Carbon Dioxide

is a colorless, odorless gas vital to plant life on earth. This naturally occurring chemical compound is composed of two oxygen atoms each covalently double bonded to a single carbon atom.


Calcium Bicarbonate

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).

Stalactite Production

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.





(Photo Retrieved from Google Images)

Type of Reaction



Stalactites are valued mostly for their beauty. They are admired as natural features that have formed over tens of thousands of years or more. They are sometimes preserved and protected. Some sites may be visited by tourists.

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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