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cave pearl

small, almost spherical concretion of calcite that is formed in a pool of water in a cave and is not attached to the surface on which it forms. Occasionally saturated water drips into small pools with such vigour that a stalagmite cannot form. A bit of foreign matter may become coated with calcite, and slight movements of the water may keep the bit in motion while new layers of calcite are added. Concentric layers are added and polished in this way until the cave pearl becomes too large to remain in motion and becomes attached

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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