Pertosa-Auletta Caves, stalactite and stalagmite touch after 20 thousand years: the "kiss" goes viral

Nov 15, 2022 280

A very unconventional, but no less exciting "kiss" is the one immortalized in the Pertosa-Auletta Caves in the province of Salerno in the Campania region: on the official Facebook page of the karst cavity complex, a photograph of a stalactite and a stalagmite touching each other for the first time after 20 thousand years was posted. "In this photo the union, a stalactite and a stalagmite about to join.

They are going to form a single body, which will be named the 'column.' It is estimated that for about 20,000 years these concretions have been slowly growing trying to touch each other," reads the social network accompanying the photo. Stalactites and stalagmites are limestone formations typical of karst cavities, such as precisely the Pertosa-Auletta Caves.

Stalactites form on the top of caves thanks to deposits of minerals carried by percolating water: the word comes from the Greek and means precisely "dripping." The process of formation of stalagmites is the same as stalactites-but they grow on the floor-and often form below them: on this occasion, as in the case of the Pertosa Caves, stalactite and stalagmite will form, after thousands of years, a single limestone block.

Located between the municipalities of Pertosa, Auletta and Polla, in the province of Salerno, the Pertosa-Auletta Caves are, as mentioned earlier, a complex of karst cavities with a strong vocation for tourism, but so extensive that it has not yet been possible to map it in its entirety. The caves extend 263 meters below sea level and follow the left bank of the Tanagro River.

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