Stalactite Report No. 12 -  NEXT STEP CEMENT FREE TITES 20/06/2019

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Photographs by John Mackay © 2019

Background...the white vertical pipes used in this cement free tite maker experiment contain no cement – but are PVC Tubes, containing only sea shells, crushed local Permian limestone and forest mulch,  then pipes are filled with our untreated Dam water. (see previous reports 1>2>3>4>5>6>7>8>9>10>, 11>)

Purpose of this new tite and mite experiment - to eliminate criticism that it is the 'processed cement' in our tite experiments (in previous reports 1 to 11) that caused 'rapid growth' which would make our experiments irrelevant to real limestone cave stalactite formation.

As posted previously and in our text 'Tites Mites and Fossil fights', this shell/limestone/mulch mix produced rapid tite growth down the outside of the wick and then grew off the wick as shown. Dr Diane Eager is shown testing tite with 3% hydrochloric acid and getting (CO² bubbles forming)- proof positive the tite was made of CaCO₃. 

Sadly one team member collecting water drip samples for 'bacterial analysis,' knocked it,  and broke off the stalactite, so Engineer Murray Ritter,  constructed a wind-proof 'cave wall barrier' that we can carefully open on  one side to inspect and show the public, thus avoiding 'fudge finger factor'..even by our team.

Two weeks later results continue to be very positive.

At the beginning of this new experiment we placed one hexagonal marble block  under the 'tite' drip to simulate limestone cave floor chemistry (Marble is recrystalized calcite). Until the erection of the 'cave wall barrier' the marble block showed little but dusty smudges (from wind).

Following its wind proofing, isolation has produced amazing results.

Pictures were taken Saturday 15th June 2019, showing a mounding of water (meniscus) on the block, and within the water are crystalline rings of calcite, identical to the crystalline pooling rings presently forming under stalactites dripping onto limestone cave floors.

This experiment is proof that the combination of sea shells, crushed Permian limestone, along with untreated dam water and bacteria rich leaf mulch (devoid of cement), rapidly produces a solution which both on impact onto the 'cave floor' block and evaporation, is growing calcium carbonate crystals.

This experiment is an ideal mimicking of real cave results, with time scale only 2 weeks.

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