|Compare stalagmite a cylindrical mass of calcium carbonate hanging from the roof of a limestone cave: formed by precipitation from continually dripping water|
|[C17: from New Latin stalactites, from Greek stalaktos dripping, from stalassein to drip]|
|stalactite (stə-lāk'tīt') Pronunciation Key
A cylindrical or conical mineral deposit projecting downward from the roof of a cave or cavern, formed by the dripping of water saturated with minerals. Stalactites form gradually as the minerals precipitate out of the saturated water. They usually consist of calcite but can also consist of other minerals. Compare stalagmite.
Note: Stalactites grow very slowly.
Note: One easy way to distinguish stalactites from stalagmites is to recall that stalactites “hold tight” to the ceiling of a cave. Stalagmites “might reach the ceiling” of the cave and form a column.