They have a fibrous breakage ; are translucent, of a white or yellowish-white colour, and a smooth or tubercular surface.
water loaded with calcareous matter filters in a cavern, the first
drops that drip from the roof leave, after evaporation, a small ring of
solid substance, which, by the successive addition of fresh drops,
increases in size, while gradually forming a kind of jutting cylinder.
Each following drop depositing on the sides of the little cylinder
additional solid matter, increases it by degrees, and especially on the
upper part, where the drops remain longer, and thus it takes the form
of a reversed cone.
watery part which falls from the stalactite on the ground is not
totally deprived of calcareous substances, and therefore is not
entirely absorbed, but leaves a deposit which rises in the form of an
upright cone, and is called stalagmite. Thus the two ernes, always
increasing in the same line, frequently join together and form columns,
which seem placed there for the support of the roof.
the water, impregnated with calcareous substances, glides slowly over
the walls of a grotto, it leaves deposits arranged in festoons or
disposed in drapery of most varied form, and these are distinguished
from other stalactites by the name of ' drapery configurations.'
stalagmites, and these festoons, are seen in many caverns and natural
grottoes both in the old and new world. The most celebrated are those
of Anti-paros, of Collepardo, of Bauman, and of Monsummano.