Greek stalaktós, which can be translated as "Dripping" , came to Latin scientific as stalactites. This term, in turn, derived in our language in stalactite . This is called the rock that appears in the ceiling of a cave from the filtration of water with particles of calcium carbonate (calcite ).
Stalactites are limestone formations of irregular structure that end in tip. Water, when slowly leaking from the surface into the cavern , is falling in drops. Each drop that falls drags calcite, gradually forming a cone of this material as it solidifies again.
The rocks elongated that seem to hang from the ceiling of a cave, in short, are the stalactites. The stalactite formation process generates, in turn, the appearance of other types of formations: stalagmites .
When the water with calcite drips from a stalactite to the floor of the cave, it forms a stalagmite, which is similar to stalactite although it grows in the I usually and with its tip up.
Although the definition of stalactite refers to water with calcium carbonate, other similar structures can be developed with other materials, such as Salt or cast . There are also the lava stalactites or staphyte , which are created by the dripping of the wash residual.
Stalactites and stalagmites, in short, develop by the precipitation of minerals that are dissolved in Water . The formation process is very slow, as it is linked to changes in the dissolution capacity of water inside the cave, in turn related to the concentration of carbon dioxide in the water and other factors.
It is true that there are many people who tend to confuse stalactites with stalagmites. However, the difference between the two is clear: the former originate from the ceiling and what they do is grow downwards while the latter arise on the ground and grow upwards.
In addition to all of the above, we cannot ignore the fact that the formation of stalactites is really slow and that it is considered that for them to grow around 3 centimeters it is required that they pass between 4,000 and 5,000 years.
Among the most significant stalactites is the largest that is located in the famous Nerja Caves (Malaga). From that it can be indicated that it has about 18 centimeters in diameter, that it is 60 meters high and that it has an age that is established around 450,000 years.
However, we must not overlook stalactites of great value and beauty such as those in the Cave of El Soplao, in Cantabria, or those of the Drach Caves, which are located on the island of Mallorca.
In the same way, we cannot ignore the existence of a song that bears in its title the term that concerns us. We are referring to "Stalactites", which is composed and performed by the Uruguayan artist Jorge Drexler. It was published in 2017 and is part of the album “Lifeguard of ice”.