Carbide Dump Helictite

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Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby nathanroser » Mar 19, 2012 8:41 am

I was in Norman Cave last week and I saw a carbide dump with a helictite coming out of it, has anyone else seen something like this before?
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 19, 2012 8:45 am

In other words some moron dumped their spent carbide all over a cave formation. wow, some people......
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby nathanroser » Mar 19, 2012 12:06 pm

Nope, this definitely looked like the formation was growing out of the carbide pile, since I could see where the helictite ended on top of the spent carbide.
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby driggs » Mar 19, 2012 1:28 pm

In 1973, Ray Garton and members of the Monongahela Grotto first documented the "carbide dump stalactite" in Cornwell Cave, a long-visited cave deep in the Cheat Canyon of Preston County, WV. The May 1976 NSS News contains a photo, and says:

Two types of carbide dump formations are found [in Cornwell Cave]. The ice cream cone type is developed up to 3/8 inch tall. In 1973 Ray and Mary Ellen Garton discovered what has been described as a new type of carbide derived speleothem: the carbide dump stalactite. Samples of the speleothem have been studied by x-ray defraction, showing the composition to be calcite and quartz.
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby BrianC » Mar 19, 2012 2:46 pm

Well carbide is primarily calcium, so once it is spent, it would be easily converted into a solid form with the right moisture, and with varying wind current I don't see why it couldn't form a helictite.
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby nathanroser » Mar 19, 2012 3:36 pm

Well that is kind of cool despite the fact carbide dumps suck. I went to the end of the Great White Way and back on that trip and it was somewhere between where one would get out of the stream and the breakdown climb up to the passage if anyone cares to go find it and have a look. I think I also did see a flowstone in Hamilton Cave that looked like it had been carbide derived since it was pure white while the surrounding rock and all the formations in that cave are orange.
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby peter febb » Mar 21, 2012 7:49 am

Carbide is made from crushed limestone. After the reaction is over you have a pile of alkaline calcium hydroxide. When exposed to CO2 in the open air, it is neutralized and becomes powdered limestone which merges with the cave.
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby Phil Winkler » Mar 21, 2012 8:50 am

Actually, it is made from lime and coal.
http://www.ehow.com/how_6707402_make-calcium-carbide.html
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby BrianC » Mar 21, 2012 9:47 am

Its all about the calcite.
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby Tlaloc » Mar 21, 2012 5:29 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:Actually, it is made from lime and coal.
http://www.ehow.com/how_6707402_make-calcium-carbide.html


And lime is calcium oxide, not calcium carbonate.
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Re: Carbide Dump Helictite

Postby nathanroser » Mar 22, 2012 9:14 pm

Kind of ironic how making carbide uses lime which probably came from limestone quarries that have chopped out a few caves.
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