Stalactite

| 23 Comments

Photograph by Quentin Cobb.

Photography contest, finalist in the “Minerals” category.

Cobb.stalactite.jpg

Big Stalactite at Doolin Cave. Largest Irish stalactite in the world. At 7.3 meters long it contains 33 tonnes of calcite. The Burren, County Clare, Republic of Ireland, 1976.

23 Comments

“Largest Irish stalactite in the world”?

Are Irish stalactites found outside of Ireland?

Quite impressive.

Erp said:

Are Irish stalactites found outside of Ireland?

A lot of them moved overseas when the calcium famine hit.

That was the story from a local :)

The Doolin stalactite is claimed to be the largest free hanging stactite in the Northern Hemisphere

One in the Gruta Rei do Mato is known to be over 20m and there are rumours of bigger ones.

Apparently the stalactite has shrunk. In the 70’s when the cave was only accessible by cavers was said to be 7.3 metres but more recent measurements now the cave is open to the public have shrunk it to 6.7 metres.

Anybody know any good stalactite jokes?

Anybody know any good stalactite jokes?

Yes. They look designed.

Okay, a stalactite walks into a bar. “Hey,” says the bartender, “we don’t want your kind hanging around here!”

Get it, get it?

The Curmudgeon said:

Okay, a stalactite walks into a bar. “Hey,” says the bartender, “we don’t want your kind hanging around here!”

Get it, get it?

Ugh. Rocky, at best. Curmy, I’m surprised that you’d stoop to such a drippy joke. Are you alright? Was it a dissolving relationship that precipitated this outburst?

[crawling back into my cave]

I don’t like to leave things hanging, but I will suspend judgment on your comment.

Anybody know any good stalactite jokes?

Yes. They look designed.

Obviously there designed - their just long enough two not reach the floor!!11!!one!!

Well, maybe it’s not completely obvious - this is rock science, after all.

After years of solitary effort, I have irrefutable proof that the whole universe is a giant stalactite. But the journals won’t publish my paper. The fools! They fear that my Universal Stalactite Theory™ will expose their ignorance! But I may have found a sympathetic outfit in Seattle …

The Curmudgeon Wrote:

But I may have found a sympathetic outfit in Seattle …

Demsbki admitted that ID can accommodate all the results of “Darwinism,” so I see no reason why they wouldn’t support UST. I should see if they’ll support my Intelligent Electron “theory” too.

Yep, the earth is only 6000 years old.

Dan Wrote:

Yep, the earth is only 6000 years old.

In 1997, just before I started following the “debate,” I was in a cave and the guide showed us this tiny stalactite that was known by direct observation to be ~50 years old. Given my own experience with mineral solubility that sounded about right. A rough extrapolation in my mind placed the ages of the large ones in the millions. In retrospect, that’s probably one of many reasons why most creationists who give it any thought are OECs, and the ones who give it a lot of thought are increasingly learning to play “don’t ask, don’t tell” with the ages.

Answers in Genesis talks about ‘Rapid stalactites’ http://www.answersingenesis.org/cre[…]lactites.asp

They give some examples of the ‘rapid growth’ of some stalactites

“In less than 10 years the stalactites grew about 25 centimetres (10 inches or one inch per year)”

“There are a number of bridges in Philadelphia which have stalactites growing on them. Some are more than a foot long (30 cm), but many smaller examples have also formed. One bridge was built in 1931 by the City of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Railroad, so all these formations are less than 56 years old. “ (30cm in 56 years is 0.64 cm.yr)

Let’s be generous and ignore the fact that bridge stalactites are not usually calcite. Let’s also use the bigger number of 1 inch (2.5cm) per year.

A straw stalactite is typically less than a cm in diameter and hollow but again to be generous let’s use 1cm and assume they’re solid

That means that 3.9cc of calcite are deposited each year. That’s 9.4 grams/yr. 9.4 x 10e-6 tonnes/year. (I’m sure by now you are ahead of me.)

Using AiG ‘rapid stalactite’ rates, it would have taken 3.5 million years for that stalactite to grow to that size.

Now please don’t think that I’m suggesting that this is an accurate estimate of the age of this stalactite. It’s a rough estimate.

Just that actually looking at the evidence and doing basic shows that Stephen Meyers’ and Robert Doolan’s conclusion Because of the evidence for fast-growing stalactites now becoming available, we can safely conclude that the world’s beautiful limestone cave formations may not have needed countless thousands of years to form. These spectacular formations could have formed quite rapidly in just a few thousand years—a time framework consistent with the view that they were formed during the closing stages of, and after, the worldwide Flood of Noah’s time. is false. They are wrong by three orders of magnitude.

Answers in Genesis talks about ‘Rapid stalactites’.…They give some examples of the ‘rapid growth’ of some stalactites

And yet they willfully ignore examples of “rapid evolution” like the ‘nylon bug’ and citrate eating bacteria.

Or the rapid diversification of a few hundred or thousand species into millions of species in just 4 or 5 thousand years… :p

Ah, but it’s all just micro evolution!

Henry J said:

Or the rapid diversification of a few hundred or thousand species into millions of species in just 4 or 5 thousand years… :p

Quidam said:

Answers in Genesis talks about ‘Rapid stalactites’ http://www.answersingenesis.org/cre[…]lactites.asp

They give some examples of the ‘rapid growth’ of some stalactites

I found something similar on CreationWiki or some such. They claim that the Crystal Spring Dome in Carlsbad caverns is a rapidly growing stalagmite. Only some literature I read, said that it adds a layer the thickness of a coat of paint every 90 years. It is now 25 feet tall. Want to calculate that, creationists???

Let’s be generous and ignore the fact that bridge stalactites are not usually calcite. Let’s also use the bigger number of 1 inch (2.5cm) per year.

A straw stalactite is typically less than a cm in diameter and hollow but again to be generous let’s use 1cm and assume they’re solid

That means that 3.9cc of calcite are deposited each year. That’s 9.4 grams/yr. 9.4 x 10e-6 tonnes/year. (I’m sure by now you are ahead of me.)

Ok, it’s late, but I was just throwing this into the volume-of-a-cylinder formula(pi*r^2*h) or (pi*0.5^2*2.5) and got only 1.96 cm^3/yr. What am I forgetting?

You’re forgetting nothing. Mea culpa

I looked at the spreadsheet and Excel had stripped out the ‘^2’ from the formula. I blame Excel since I would never have made that mistake :)

So double up the time to 7 million years

Quidam said:

So double up the time to 7 million years

Whew, ok. It’s funny, I ran the calculation again and again for several minutes second guessing myself the whole time…

And, yeah, I knew that if I was right, that it would be even worse for the creationists… You were already being way too generous.

I had written the formula h*pi()*(d/2)^2 or so I thought. when I looked again the ^2 was missing. Oh well.

Quidam said:

I had written the formula h*pi()*(d/2)^2 or so I thought. when I looked again the ^2 was missing. Oh well.

One other thing the creationists might get excited about is that the 33 tonnes of calcite might be all those individual “straws” added up. If each straw grows at 1 cm/year, then it’s only 730 years. But that’s before you count all the other assumptions that you generously gave them. There’s probably something about stalactite formation that I’m missing here, too… Not a geologist.

Interesting, i’ve learned something new today.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on August 11, 2009 12:00 PM.

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