The Dripstone of Rožňava Cavers

The Dripstone of Rožňava Cavers belongs to the highest sinter formations – dripstones – in the world. It is still registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest sinter column in the world. However, it would be a great paradox if there would have been the highest dripstone in our temperate climate zone. Large caves and big dripstones as well are more often created in tropical karst where conditions for their formation are the best. Therefore, the highest dripstones are found in tropical areas. The highest known dripstone 70 m high was found on China in the cave Zhi  Jing.
  34 m high and approximately 2000 tons heavy dripstone in the Krásnohorská Cave is a real miracle of nature. Even we know the conditions which helped to its growth it is hard to understand its formation has lasted for less then 10.000 years.  Its upper age limit was dated by using C14 method on a sample from its predecessor fallen down in the past and lying below it. More then 200 kg of new sinter is added every year. In comparison, average growth rate of stalactites in the Slovak Karst is 1 gram per decades to hundreds of years. What are the conditions of its growth at all?
  For the growth rate of a dripstone the amount of the solution pouring on it has significant role. There is a large sinkhole 250 m wide there on the plateau 250 m just above the dripstone. It collects sufficient amount of solution which nourishes the dripstone. However, substantial is, that a karst conduit of this sinkhole bringing aggressive snow water to the cave, does not lead directly to the Hall of Giants.
Due to high CO2 concentration in the soil on the plateau’s surface covered by a forest, the solution is much saturated. In the Hall of Giants, carbon dioxide concentration is 6 times lower, what makes sufficient partial pressure for intensive sinter precipitation. When the dripstone was smaller an effect of drop super saturation falling from big height was active as well. Later, when the dripstone grew up, the growth process changed. The solution started to flow freely on the surface of its growing body and the dripstone was spreading out similarly as surface crusts are formed on the inclined cave walls. It was also chance event.

Kvapeľ rožňavských jaskyniarov
Kvapeľ má dva vrcholy. Pohľad z vyššieho na nižší.Hlavný vrchol je prepojený na strop. Kvapeľ je teda stalagnátStalaktity na spodnom okraji kvapľa. Stalaktit celkom vpravo je považovaný za jeho najnižší bodVrchol padnutého predchodcu Kvapľa rožňavských jaskyniarov.
(c)  RNDr. Jaroslav Stankovič