December 10th, 2009

 

Stalactites and Time

We are told it takes a hundred years to form one inch of stalactite material. However, an underground wing of the Milwaukee Public Museum had a problem with the roof leaking. They boarded it up. Ten years later, stalactites were found which were 6 feet long. Using the normally accepted accumulation rate, we can calculate that the underground wing must be 7200 years old - making the museum the oldest building in North America!  Time is not the hero of the plot. It is the conditions! Stalactites can and do form rapidly!

 

By

Dave Nutting

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