Dictionary of Geotourism

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

Rock Spine Landscape

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_2104
This is a unique type of biokarst landscape. Rock spines form on cave walls under the dim light near the cave mouth. They are needle-like erosional residual substances in parallel clusters. Their tops are sharp, but their bases are relatively thick, and the sharp tops point towards the light. Rock spines are generally a few centimetres long, whereas the longest can reach 15 cm, and their diameter ranges between 0.3 and 1.5 cm. Their forms are related to the biological dissolution of calcium carbonate by blue-green algae and red algae; hence, rock spines are a unique form resulting from biological karst effects. They point in the same direction because of the phototactic property of the algae’s growth. The individual algae that form the rock spine is tiny and can only be observed for detailed study via electron microscopy (Fig. 20).
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