By TammyWhite
1 years ago

Ice stalactites are well named?

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At one point I heard a news reporter referring to the very low temperatures prevailing, and mentioning that "ice stalactites" were in a fountain, which inspired me for this post.

What are stalactites?
The stalactites are speleothems, that is, sedimentary forms of deposition that occur essentially in the caverns, and I have already explained them in depth in the post that I have linked above.

Can the term be applied to conical and hanging ice structures?
Decidedly not, because stalactites are formed by salts, which can vary in composition, but ultimately are mineral structures, while ice is only frozen water, at most with a minimum of contaminants, but not fundamentally stony.

On the other hand, the structures seen in the photo are of rapid formation, they occur almost always in the open and they are ephemeral, since they merge as soon as there are positive thermal changes.

None of these conditions are shared by the true stalactites, which also result from a chemical process called precipitation, and not from a simple change of state due to heat loss.

Ergo, the term stalactite is badly applied, when it is ice, although it is heard many times, and the use pretends to consecrate it.

It is acceptable only in a literary text, and as a poetic license, or in a figurative sense, but never in technical or scientific writings.


What is the correct name for those icy structures?
The specific denomination for ice cones that hang on roofs, roofs of glacial caverns, branches or statues, and that are produced by the simple freezing of water that drips in any of those situations is "icicle".

This word is derived from the Latin term calamûlus, which means small cane, and refers to the elongated shape of the structure.


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1 years
OlgaLifeLover Lovely
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Smokey2017 Stunning pic
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Violeta Beautiful
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Unanenna Informative and amazing pic
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fortune The most beautiful stalactites I saw in Pamukkale, Turkey. They are amazing there. I must post some photos, just need to search where I stored them.
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sabtraversa A while ago, I thought icicle was a synonym for popsicle. I also used to confuse stalactites and stalagmites. Glad I was taught and reminded icicle is the correct term for this phenomenon, thank you.
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