What are stegamites?

Stegamites are part of a special group of speleothems, generated by the intervention of processes based on the forces of capillarity of water. They are speleothems formed as a consequence of very low flows of ascending water, which travel upwards from the ground of the cave up trough small fractures.
They are easily identified by their position and their shape . As for their position, they are found on the ground, which differentiates them from other similar speleothems, the so-called discs, which grow on walls and ceilings. Regarding their shape, it is possibly the most decisive criteria: they have a flat morphology, in the shape of a ridge, crescent moon or shark fin. Their shape ranges from a few millimetres tall to more than two meters, with very variable lengths, from centimetres to more than one meter.
Possibly the most characteristic thing is that they have bilateral symmetry, with a central plane that coincides with the fracture that serves as the path that the water follows to rise from the ground up by capillarity. Their internal structure, sometimes visible to the naked eye, consists of a series of layers similar to concentric semicircles, originating in the central midpoint of the base, which grow progressively to the outside. These layers are the reflection of the growth of the stegamite over time, layering calcium carbonate deposits on the outer edges.
The name stegamites come from the resemblance to the bone plates that palaeontologists think the dinosaur Stegosaurus had in the back. This dinosaur is from the end of the Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago.
In short, stegamites are a very particular type of speleothems, with a very characteristic morphology and origin, very scarce in the caves and whose study and overall significance are still to be completely known.

Scroll al inicio