The stalagmites are a process of the nature that marvel sight, are defined as natural phenomena that are almost impossible overlooked, however, people often confused with the stalactites. Unlike stalactites that arise from the ceiling, stalagmites are formed from chemical processes from the ground. They are mostly found in caves with a high concentration of calcium carbonate.


What is stalagmites?

They are calcareous concretions that go through a formation process thanks to water seepage with drop by drop . Due to the displacement of water in underground areas , it produces an effect on the sedimentary rocks where it ends up dissolving the calcium carbonate and causing it to filter through the lower areas of the cave. By pressurizing air and gas with a high carbon content , this produces a precipitate , a kind of tip that ends up falling, which undergoes a solidification process in some area of ​​the underground vaults , these are given the name of stalactites and it isbelow them where the stalagmites are formed due to the constant dripping from the stalactites on the same point. There is the possibility that both formations come to touch each other , but for this to happen quite a few centuries take place.

  • Definition
  • Stalagmites characteristics
  • How they are formed
  • Where they are
  • Ice stalagmites
  • Salt stalagmites
  • How they differ from stalactites
  • What are the most important stalactites in the world


A stalagmite is one of the types of speleothem , which means mineral deposit that is formed by a chemical process called precipitation, part of the Greek word “stalagmos” which is translated as ” drip ” this in turn to scientific Latin ” Stalagmites ” ended up being the one used today to refer to it.


This is formed in the soil of a limestone cave due to the cause and effect of the settling of solutions and the degradation of calcium carbonate. There are stalagmites that have come into contact with the stalactite forming a column giving them the name of calcium pillars.

Stalagmites characteristics

The study of the scientists on the stalagmites ended up determining that the growth time of these precipitations usually vary a lot among themselves, for the same reason they are also usually interrupted due to chemical effects or natural effects such as climatic changes.

An attempt was made to evaluate several cases with constant study where it was sought to evaluate and determine the growth time of the same and it was concluded that for the stalagmites to grow 1cm it would take approximately 2 years.

Normally stalactites have a different shape than stalagmites, they have a wider shape and have a more shortened tip, however their shape will always vary with respect to the rate of water fall, evaporation , drip height and the climatic effects .

How they are formed

Stalagmites and stalactites are formed by the decantation of dissolved minerals in water, through sedimentary stones. The water in its passage through the caverns is being filtered by the water , and in turn it is treating the karst minerals, minerals that are soluble in water are mostly carbonates, such as calcite or sulfates such as gypsum.

When they finish being treated and dissolved, it reaches a cavity, due to the process that the composition of this mineral goes through changes and this allows it to precipitate, thus making it solidify, thus achieving consecutive accumulation.

All these chemical processes are due to several factors, the two main and most important are evaporation and the accumulation of carbon dioxide in caves. Due to the high accumulations of CO2 in the cavern areas, it allows a small part of it to dissolve in the water and form part of the chemical process, becoming a carbonate and competing with the others that come from minerals. Since the solubility of CO2 in water is very low and the effects of humidity in the caves , end up slowing down the formation of stalactites and stalagmites .

Where they are

Stalagmites and stalactites are formed mainly in the vaults or cavities of caves that have a high concentration of high- carbon minerals , usually in the middle and lower levels of the caves, stalactites are formed in the upper part of the caves and these you always grow in a decent way while stalagmites are formed thanks to them. In the caves where we see large stalagmites it is because they have taken centuries to form 2.5cm every 4 and 5 years approximately.

They are generally formed in limestone caves, but this is not an impediment since they can be formed in artificial caverns by natural deposits of various minerals.

Ice stalagmites

The term ice stalagmite is poorly applied, since they do not go through any settling process which is the basis for its formation. The real name that should be given to these formations is ice cone , since they go through a different process.

The conical formations that we see during the winter seasons or that are seen in ice caves are formed by a dripping process, just like stalagmites but due to low temperatures it causes the drops to reach a level of condensation and solicitation faster. , the lower the temperature, the faster the solidification rate.

Salt stalagmites

The stalagmites salt are the most common, as are formed from calcium carbonate one of the main components of salt and meets this same manner with all the decanting process and formation.

How they differ from stalactites

The most notable difference between stalagmite and stalactite is that while one forms in the upper part of the caves, the other forms at ground level, however, the stalagmite always needs the constant dripping of the stalactite since without it it would not be possible to form.

What are the most important stalactites in the world

  • The largest stalagmite found is in Zhijin , a Chinese cave . Stalagmites of 70 meters or more are usually found in them.
  • The second is in the San Marerin-Infierno cave , in Cuba . A stalagmite size 63 recognized by scientists.
  • The third is located in Italy in the Ispinigoli cave , in Sardinia. It has a stalagmite of 50 meters. The fourth is found in Slovakia in the KrásnohorskáJaskyna cave . In it is a 32.6 meter stalagmite.

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