Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Heliotropic Stalactite Landscape

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_1034
Plants absorb carbon dioxide from water droplets on the cave roof through photosynthesis, and the water eventually becomes saturated and is deposited to form stalactites. Heliotropic stalactites are common at cave mouths, where light can reach. Algae and other organisms attach to the stalactites near the cave mouth. Because these organisms are phototropic, the stalactites tend to grow towards the outside part of the cave mouth. This is a type of biokarst landform. Similar sedimentary landforms form on both sides of some karst canyons in the south. Similar stalactites can form when a solution seeps from cracks; these features are called external stalactites (Fig. 6).
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