For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sterkfontein Caves - Part 5

Many beautiful structures – including stalagmites and stalactites – form inside caves as carbonic acid carrying limestone, drips through cave roofs onto their floors. Structures inside a cave may take millions of years to develop.
Some of the geological structures which may develop inside a cave include:

“Speleothem: is a general geological term for a calcium carbonate deposit in a cave, including formations such as stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones.
Flowstones are speleothems on the walls and floors of a cave formed from a gradual flow of water over a relatively broad area.
The term stalactite comes from the Greek word stalaktos, which means “dripping” because these other-worldly formations “drip” from the roofs of limestone caves. Essentially, water reacts to carbon dioxcide to form carbonic acid. It then seeps slowly through the roof of the cave, depositing calcium carbonate which hardens and build up over time to form a stalactite.
Stalagmites are corresponding formations on the floor of the cave to stalactites. Stalagmites rise from the floor in a build up of calcium carbonate over time, from mineral-bearing water dripping from the roof of the cave. The term stalagmite comes from the Greek word stalagma, to “drop”.
Sometimes stalactites and stalagmites meet, forming a pillar or column of rock-hard calcium carbonate.
A formation of calcium carbonate in a cave that grows in a twisted, curled fashion, like a helix (hence the name), seemly defying the laws of gravity.

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