UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Glossary

Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

helictite
1. Generally small variety of stalactitic calcite growth that is twisted and contorted with no apparent regard for gravity. Helictites form on cave walls, ceilings, and on stalactites. The growth develops as seepage water loses carbon dioxide from near its tip, having been supplied to that point by capillary action through a fine central canal. The helictite shape is created by crystal lattice distortion and crystal form changes within the calcite, but what causes these is uncertain. Impurities may plan a role, and rare groups of parallel growing helictites may be wind-guided [9]. 2. Irregular, twiglike, crystalline growths with varying orientations but often in crystal continuity, formed in caves by precipitation from bicarbonate solutions [20]. 3. A curved or angular twiglike lateral projection of calcium carbonate having a tiny central canal, found in caves [10]. Also known as eccentric anemolite [20]; eccentric stalactite. Synonyms: (French.) excentrique; (German.) exzentrisch gekrummter, Tropfstein, Excentriques; (Greek.) stalaktits akanonistos; (Italian.) stalattiti anomale, eccentiche; (Spanish.) estalactita excentrica; (Turkish.) duzensiz sarkit; (Yugoslavian.) heliktit. Related to curtain, dripstone, speleothem.