Stalactites are mineral deposits depending from overhanging rocks or the roofs of caves. (Generally they are similar in appearance to icicles.) A typical feature of limestone caves, they are formed by water deposition of soluble chemicals, mostly calcium carbonate. A stalactite will usually be associated with a corresponding stalagmite.

Mnemonic: "c" for "ceiling"

Sta*lac"tite (?), n.; pl. Stalactites (#). [Gr. oozing out in drops, dropping, fr. to drop: cf. F. stalactite.] Geol. (a)

A pendent cone or cylinder of calcium carbonate resembling an icicle in form and mode of attachment. Stalactites are found depending from the roof or sides of caverns, and are produced by deposition from waters which have percolated through, and partially dissolved, the overlying limestone rocks.


In an extended sense, any mineral or rock of similar form and origin; as, a stalactite of lava.


© Webster 1913.

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