stalactites in the empire state building?

There’s a rumor that stalactites (or stalagmites, I always get the two mixed up) have formed in the basement areas of the Empire State building in New York.

Can someone confirm or deny this report?

If denied, then I humbly plead ignorance, and bow out as gracefully as I can. :slight_smile:

But if confirmed, the question is: I’ve always been told that it takes thousands, if not millions of years for these rock formations to be created. If that’s true, then how could they exist in the basement of the Empire State building?

A handy method of telling stalactites from stalagmites: always remember that at the tites go down, the mites go up.

I don’t know about ESB, but there are stalactites and stalagmites in the Lincoln Memorial.

The area underneath the Lincoln Memorial, however, is an entirely different environment than that found in a natural cave. For a brief explanation of the differences, and why stalactites would grow at different rates in the two different environments, try this:

(Questions 2 and 3).

An easier way to remember:

Only the word “stalagmites” has a letter that drops below the baseline (ie, points down) - “g”.

Gee, I was always told that stalagtites have to hold on tight so they don’t fall, and stalagmites might reach the roof someday.

Much Much eaier way to remember:

Stala C tites - cieling

Stala G mites - ground

In grade school, the way I was told to remember which is which is stalactites “hold on tight”, while stalagmites “hold on with all their might”. How that is supposed to help is beyond me…

Stalactites: Hang tight.

That’s how I remember it.

Boy did this topic get off base…

I was disabused of this notion that it took millions of years to form when I moved into my apartment in Salt Lake City (built in the 1920s) and found impressive stalagmites growing from the faucets in my sink and bathtub, and from the shower head. I had to use my Boy Scout knife to chip them off, and used three bottles of Lime Away (a weak, scented acid solution) to clean the bathroom.

Salt Lake City water is hard (full of minerals in solution). My diffusion pump cooling coils regularly came down with “hardening of the arteries”.
On a similar note, I’ve wondered for years about the “icicles” I see in the summer hanging from the undersides of bridges. They’re stalagmites, too, evidently from material leached out of the mortar. The reconstructed Saugus Iron Works in Saugus, Massachusetts has similar “bridge stalagmites” near the working mouth, and it was built back in the 1930s.

Try “ceiling”. (Sorry about that.) But that is how I always remembered it. My wife remembers tights and mites, which proves nothing at all.

I use what is probably the most difficult mnemonic for this, but it seems to be the only one I can remember when I need it. I recall a Scooby Doo episode in which the gang is being chased through a cave by some sort of mutated, bipedal frog (amazingly enough, it later turned out to be this guy in a frog suit who was trying to scare people away from the site of his nefarious scheme, but I digress). The monster grabbed a stalgmite and attempted to rip it from the cave floor to use as a weapon. Shaggy didn’t think he’d manage it, and indicated his belief by saying to Scooby:

“A stalctite might, but a stalgmite’s tight.”

Of course, this means I must struggle to draw the meaning out of this recollection, but, as I say, it works for me.

Setting aside the pronunciation/mnemonic advice, I could add that there is a tourist attraction in England called Mother Shipton’s Cave, which includes a petrifying waterfall (the link’s German but it had the best set of pictures I could find). Visitors hang up regular objects such as baskets, clothing, teddy bears etc. in the flow of the mineral-rich water and they get coated in a mineral deposit in just a few years.

So depending on the mineral content of drip water in the Empire State Building there’s no reason why stalactites and stalagmites couldn’t have formed during its lifetime. I can’t say for sure whether or not they have though.

Huh. How come he didn’t get away with it?

I think it was those meddling kids, manny.

Well, in that episode, anyway. You never know what next week’s show will bring!

How long does it take a stala*ite to form? In addition to all the other factors, it also depends on the size. In all of the places I’ve seen them formed in artificial settings, the ctites were just hollow little straws, and the gmites were smooth, nearly flat bumps on the floor, after about 70 years of abandonment. At that rate, it’d take a while to get the grand pillars and columns like you see in Carlsbad.

The way I remember, by the way, is that “mite” is like “mountain”.

I don’t remember seeing any in the ESB but have seen them is many basements throuout the city - all are small maybe 4 in would be a big one.