Printer Friendly

WHAT A DRIP!

Cave stalactites form when water drips through the roofs of limestone caves. Calcium carbonate dissolved in the water creates the icicle-shape formations. Try this activity to make a homemade stalactite.

You need:

2 plastic cups * Epsom salt * very hot water * spoon * cotton string or wool yarn, about 75 cm (30 in. long) * 2 large paper clips * plastic plate

To do:

1. Carefully fill 3/4 of one cup with very hot water. (You can heat the water in a microwave if necessary.)

2. Add a few spoonfuls of Epsom salt into the cup. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Keep adding salt until no more will dissolve in the water.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the second cup.

4. Fold the piece of string in half and twist the halves together. Attach a paper clip to each end of the string. Then dip the string in one of the salt solutions and wet it thoroughly.

5. Set the cups on a plate. Then put the ends of the string into the cups, so that the middle of the string forms a deep "U" shape. Let the middle of the string dangle about an inch above the plate.

6. Leave the set-up overnight. Check the string every so often for the next few days. What happens?

Conclusions:

Where did the Epsom salts in the water go? How is your homemade stalactite similar to those that form in caves? How is it different?

Don't Stop Now!

The stalactite you made is a crystal--a solid whose atoms or molecules are arranged in a regular, geometric pattern. What other ingredients can you use to make a crystal? Try to make crystals using table salt and sugar. What else works?
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scholastic, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:creating a homemade stalactite
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 22, 1999
Words:287
Previous Article:A Real Martian Invader.
Next Article:Science in the News Quiz.
Topics:


Related Articles
WEIMIN HUANG.
For past climate clues, ask a stalag-mite.
Extremophiles: caves rank among earth's most amazing natural wonders. And they brim with some of the planet's strangest life-forms. (Caves/Microbes).
Luis Barragan's gardens of El Pedregal. (Ideal Landscape Captured).
MOANING GLORY A DESCENT INTO THIS CAVERN IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF DOWN AND DIRTY.
Drain hub oil safely.
Merian Soto Dance & Performance.
Let's go spelunking.
Buried treasures: constructing--and deconstructing--cave formations.
Shocking rocks.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters