Copyright 1995 by the CREATION RESEARCH SOCIETY (CRS), Inc.
              ... continued from 25_4a1.txt ...
                  by DUANE T. GISH, Ph.D.
     Received 6 August 1988 Revised 25 September 1988
      Creation Research Society Quarterly 25(4):161
                       March, 1989
*Formation of Dripstone Deposits -- Stalagmites and Stalactites*
Uniformitarian geologists assume that dripstone deposits, such
as stalagmites and stalactites, form very slowly, and therefore,
the existence of large stalagmites and stalactites in natural
limestone caves would have required tens of thousands of years
or more to form. Creationists challenge this assumption and have
therefore exhibited considerable interest in present-day
examples of rapid natural dripstone formation and have conducted
laboratory experiments designed to measure rates of dripstone
formation under various conditions. As a result, many articles
and research reports on the subject have been published in the
_Quarterly_ (Anon., 1971; Keithley, 1971; Harris, 1971; 
Armstrong, 1972; Brady 1973; Williams, 1975; Williams, et al., 
1976; Williams and Herdklotz, 1977; Helmick, Rohde and Ross, 
1977; Amer, 1978; Cannell, 1978; Williams and Herdklotz, 1978; 
Williams, House and Herdklotz, 1981; Williams, 1987). 
Most recently, a spirited exchange on the subject has been
published (Wise, 1988; Williams, 1988). Helmick, Rohde and Ross,
in April 1976, discovered numerous stalactites which had formed
under a concrete bridge near Cedarville, Ohio (1977, pp. 13-7).
The bridge had been built in 1941, and thus the stalactites had
formed in no more than 35 years. From the size of the
stalactites, they calculated that the minimum rate of growth was
0.53 cm3 per year, considerably in excess of 0.164 cm3 per year
sometimes mentioned in the geological literature. They actually
observed growth rates several times the minimum rate during some
of the year. They refer to reports of growth rates of
stalactites on the concrete roof of the Experimental Mine of the
United States Bureau of Mines near Bruceton, Pennsylvania, up to
40 times the minimum average rate observed under the concrete
bridge. They also relate the fact that the large stalagmite
known as Crystal Spring Dome, in Carlsbad Cavern, has been
reported to be growing at the rate of 2.5 in3 (41.0 cm3) per
year, in spite of the present, dry New Mexico desert above. They
calculate that at this rate, a 10,000 in3 stalagmite, which
would require 1,000,000 years to form at an average deposition
rate of one in3 per hundred years, could actually be formed in
only 4000 years. Taking into account the possibility of even
higher growth rates, they declare it is apparent that even the
largest known dripstone could have formed in only a few thousand
years. The observation of the relatively rapid rate of growth of
the stalagmite in Carlsbad Cavern is especially important, since
this involves growth rates under a natural cave environment from
calcium carbonate, rather than from concrete, which contains a
considerable amount of calcium hydroxide in addition to calcium
carbonate. Calcium hydroxide is about 100 times more soluble in
water than is calcium carbonate (but see below the discussion of
this factor in the exchange between Wise and Williams). 
E. B. Cannell (1978, pp. 9-11) reported rapid stalactite growth
in two cement tunnels in a water treatment plant located on the
Ottawa River in Quebec. The minimum growth rate, calculated on
the basis of the date of construction of the tunnels and the
date of discovery of the stalactites, and the volume of the
largest stalactite, was 4.61 cm3 per year, 28 times greater than
the average of 0.164 cm3 per year cited in geological
literature. Although temperature ranges in the tunnels were
approximately those in natural caves, Cannell did cite a number
of conditions that are unlike those that are encountered under
natural conditions that might affect rates of formations. 
Amer (1978, pp. 9-11) reports on the discovery of stalactites in
an abandoned tunnel that was formerly part of the London subway
system. Some of the stalactites were two feet in length.
London's underground railway system was completed in 1890. This
would yield a growth rate of about 70 mm per year, which is
considerably greater than that reported by Cannell for his
Williams, Herdklotz, Mulfinger, Jonsonbaugh, and Pierce (1976,
pp. 211-2) published the first in a series of four papers placed
in the _Quarterly_ concerning laboratory experiments on the rate
of deposition of calcium carbonate from an aqueous solution.
Their experimental apparatus was designed to simulate the
solution of calcium carbonate as ground water seeps through
limestone formations and then redeposits the calcium carbonate
as stalactites, as the mineralized water drips from the roof of
limestone caves. 
In their experiments, they employed tap water plus carbon
dioxide; tap water plus carbon dioxide plus 5% sodium chloride;
and tap water plus carbon dioxide plus 1% acetic acid. Normal
surface water percolating through soil picks up carbon dioxide
present in soil. The solution containing added sodium chloride
is postulated to be similar to waters of the Flood that would
have receded from the earth through recently consolidated
limestone. The solution containing added acetic acid simulates a
type of Flood water containing humic acid from the decay of
organisms. The solutions containing sodium chloride and acetic
acid dissolved four to five times as much calcium carbonate as
did the water containing only carbon dioxide. The solution
containing carbon dioxide and sodium chloride deposited almost
twice as much dissolved calcium carbonate as did the solution
containing only carbon dioxide. These investigators claimed
their experimental results indicated that massive precipitation
of calcium carbonate is possible under laboratory conditions. If
their laboratory conditions approximate natural conditions that
may have existed after the Flood, their results would also
indicate, of course, that the formation of stalactites and
stalagmites would have occurred much more rapidly than under
present conditions. 
E. L. Williams and R. L. Herdklotz (1977, pp. 192-9) published
the second paper in the series. They cite reports by several
investigators that establish the fact that water percolating
through soil picks up relatively large quantities of carbon
dioxide. They used apparatus similar to that described in the
first paper and also a simpler apparatus. Their test solutions
were similar to those in earlier experiments, and they also
tested for the effect of temperature. For the experiment testing
the effect of temperature, they employed water containing only
carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide-enriched water, warmed to
about 45C, dissolved the limestone, and redeposited the
limestone as it dripped from the apparatus. The deposition is
not due to evaporation, but is due to the loss from solution of
carbon dioxide. The solubility of calcium carbonate is regulated
by the relationship
     CaCO3 + H20 + C02 <==> Ca++ + 2HCO3-
Addition of carbon dioxide shifts the reaction to the right,
dissolving calcium carbonate and forming the much more soluble
calcium bicarbonate, while decomposition of calcium bicarbonate
with the loss of carbon dioxide from solution shifts the
reaction to the left, with formation of the much less soluble
calcium carbonate, resulting in its deposition. The higher
temperature drives off carbon dioxide from solution, and shifts
the reaction to the left, with deposition of calcium carbonate.
The experiment was very successful, with large amounts of
calcium carbonate being deposited on the strings employed in
their apparatus, similar to what is found in natural
Based on the rates of deposition of calcium carbonate they
obtained under various conditions -- 5% sodium chloride solution,
plus carbon dioxide at 25C; water, plus carbon dioxide at 45C;
water, plus carbon dioxide, with the temperature raising from 8C
to 25C -- a very rapid rate of calcium carbonate deposition was
Williams and Herdklotz, postulating conditions that could
reasonably be assumed to have existed at the time the Flood
waters would have been receding, made an attempt to calculate
the rate at which caves could form in limestone deposits. Under
ordinary conditions, if 15% of 40 inches of rain per year were
available for limestone solution, their calculations indicated
that in one year, a cave of 3 ft. x 6 ft. cross section x 120
ft. long would be formed per square mile of surface. Of course,
during the waning stages of the Flood, quantities of water
vastly in excess of that would have been available for
dissolution of calcium carbonate and consequent cave formation. 
The third paper in the series was also published by Williams and
Herdklotz (1978, pp. 88-91) who attempted to produce calcium
carbonate dripstone under laboratory conditions which included
water charged with carbon dioxide dripping in an atmosphere of
100% humidity. No dripstone formed. It has been suggested that
decomposition of proteins and other nitrogen-containing
substances would produce ammonia and other amines. To test this
effect, an experiment was conducted with carbon dioxide-charged
water in which ammonia was admitted into the apparatus. Even
under excessively humid conditions, some calcium carbonate did
precipitate. Thus it appears that even under very humid
conditions, with ammonia present in the atmosphere the
precipitation and subsequent slow growth of dripstone is
In order to determine whether some of the dripstone which was
produced from dolomite (which contains both calcium and
magnesium) was formed by evaporation as well as by precipitation
due to loss of carbon dioxide (as happens when true dripstone
forms), a sample of the dripstone produced in the laboratory at
45C was titrated in solution with EDTA (ethylene diamine
tetraacetate). This revealed that all of the deposit was calcium
carbonate, indicating that none had formed by evaporation. If
some of the dripstone had formed by evaporation, the deposit
would contain both calcium and magnesium carbonates. 
Williams and Herdklotz, in this report, cited statements by
uniformitarian geologists, cautioning against claims that the
time span required to form stalactites and stalagmites can be
estimated using rates of formation under present conditions.
They quoted James H. Gardner (1935, p. 1270): 
  "The rate at which dripstone forms is a variable factor, 
  due to changing circumstances; it depends on the amount 
  of seepage water, the quantity of carbonate in solution, 
  and the rate of precipitation. It is a common practice to 
  attempt to fix the age of dripstone by the rate at which 
  it forms, but this is plainly a valueless calculation. It 
  invariably results in the fixing of the age of a stalactite 
  or stalagmite in proportion to its size; the largest will 
  be the oldest and the smallest the youngest. For example, 
  in Carlsbad Cavern at the present time, the management 
  maintains a large sign on an immense stalagmite, stating 
  that it is estimated to have an age of 60 million years. 
  Guides give the information that the calculation is based 
  on the rate of so many cubic inches per year at which such 
  dripstone formed. The writer believes that such signs 
  should be removed by the National Park Service as being 
  misleading to the public." 
In quoting Gardner and others, creationists do not imply that
they necessarily agree with creationists that these stalactites
and stalagmites did form in just a few thousand years, and, of
course, creationists acknowledge that neither laboratory nor
field work should be used to make claims concerning the age of
these dripstones. Laboratory experiments and investigations in
the field by creationists may be used, however, to indicate that
it is possible that these dripstones could have formed much more
rapidly than is usually acknowledged. 
The fourth paper in this series was published by Williams,
House, and Herdklotz (1981, pp. 205-8,226). In these
experiments, they found that there was a lag time of about 400
hours before dripstone began to form. They suggested that this
lag may be due to the time necessary to allow the removal of
carbon dioxide from solution, or it may be due to the time
necessary to supersaturate the solution with calcium carbonate
before solid nuclei of the precipitating compound will become
stable. They also tested for the effect of drip time. They found
that a time between drops (in seconds) of 43 and 90 yielded a
bit over 0.05 grams per string, a time of 125 gave 0.132 grams,
and a time of 215 gave 0.108 grams per string. They postulate
that fast drop formation is a deterrant to precipitation,
because the "dwell time" of the drop on the string is not
sufficient to allow the release of carbon dioxide so that
calcium carbonate can precipitate, while excessive "dwell time"
may cause slow monocrystalline growth rather than rapid
polycrystalline growth that occurs with somewhat faster moving
They concluded that their results indicate that pressure loss in
dripping water, in which calcium carbonate and carbon dioxide
are dissolved, can produce rapid precipitation of calcium
carbonate under laboratory conditions. The rate of precipitation
is dependent on a number of factors, including pressure drop,
chemical composition differences in solution and atmosphere,
drip rate, and temperature differences. These experiments lead
to the conclusion that large masses of calcium carbonate can be
deposited rapidly, under proper conditions. 
In an appendix Williams and his co-workers quote a report from a
newsletter of a caving club (Trout, 1975). 
  "The trip really became interesting when we came to the 
  area just above the rubble slope which leads to the 
  'Rattlesnake Room.' The new growth was simply unbelievable. 
  All who were familiar with the cave were engaged in a 'come 
  over here and see what is new' contest. 
  "The real shock came when someone pointed out the new 
  growth behind the 'Bat Burial' formation. Three new 
  stalactites had grown and the longest was some longer than 
  12". The time since the last photo was taken of this wall 
  was just over 3 months ago so the growth rate of the largest 
  stalactite would be approximately 4" per month or 1 inch 
  every 7.5 days. Unbelievable? Yes! In fact, if any caver 
  believes this without seeing for himself it would surprise me. 
  Luckily though we have been photographing the same spot for 15 
  years and have all the photos with dates." 
*Depositional Interbedding and Time Frames in the Grand Canyon*
The Grand Canyon and theories concerning its formation have long
inspired interest by geologists, evolutionists and creationists
alike. Evolutionary geologists have expressed increasing
frustration at attempts to explain its formation. Evolutionary
geologists believe that the area encompassing much of the Canyon
was uplifted 65 million years ago, but that the Colorado River
which flows through it did not originate until about four
million years ago. It is obvious that if these assumptions are
correct, the Colorado River could not have cut the Grand Canyon.
If a newly flowing river encountered an uplifted area, it would
never climb up over it and subsequently cut a canyon - it would
simply flow around it. In the museum on the south rim of the
Canyon is a description of several geological theories on the
formation of the Canyon, followed by an admission that all of
these theories have serious faults. The Havasupai Indian account
of the formation of the Grand Canyon is then given. According to
these Indians who live in one of the offshoots of the Canyon,
the Grand Canyon formed during a great world-wide flood. Much
physical evidence supports this belief. 
William Waisgerber, a consulting geologist and President of
William Waisgerber and Associates, Consulting Geologists; George
Howe, Director of the CRS Grand Canyon Experiment Station and
Chairman and Professor, Division of Natural Science and
Mathematics, The Master's College; and Dr. Emmett Williams
(1987, pp.160-7) reported on two field trips to the Grand Canyon
to study the alleged unconformity between the Mississippian
Redwall Limestone and the Cambrian Muav Limestone along the
North Kaibab Trail. Evolutionary and other uniformitarian
geologists believe that there exists a 200 million-year time gap
between the top of the Cambrian Muav Limestone and the base of
the Mississippian Redwall Limestone, since intervening
Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian rocks are absent. Clifford
Burdick, a consulting geologist who had made an earlier study of
the contact between the Cambrian Muav and the Mississippian
Redwall, reported that he had found evidence of intertonguing
between these two formations, contradicting the notion that 200
million years had intervened between the deposition of the
Cambrian Muav and the Mississippian Redwall. Waisgerber and his
colleagues, with support from the CRS Research Committee, formed
a field team to reinvestigate the area studied by Burdick. 
Waisgerber and his colleagues confirmed Burdick's observations
concerning interbedding of the Cambrian Muav and the
Mississippian Redwall. Along the North Kaibab Trail is a sign
erected by the National Park Service identifying the contact
between the Redwall Limestone and the Muav Limestone. The CRS
team reports that commencing from an area about 100 yards north
of the sign to about 100 yards south of the sign, all beds
apparently interfinger with one another. They determined that
yellowish appearing micaceous shales were the uppermost Cambrian
Muav Limestone. Immediately above these shales were typically
reddishcolored Mississippian Redwall Limestone beds. Any attempt
to trace individual beds laterally, southerly or northerly along
the North Kaibab Trail, however, resulted in a reverse
stratigraphic relationship. Supposedly, older Muav Formation
yellowish beds rested on allegedly younger reddish-stained
Redwall limestone beds. Lateral and vertical facies changes
within both formations indicate the absence of unconformable
relationships between the Redwall Limestone and the Muav
Limestone. In other words, where allegedly older Cambrian Muav
Limestone rests on allegedly younger Mississippian Redwall
Limestone, the contact is a true sedimentary contact and thus
the Muav Limestone was deposited on top of the Redwall
Limestone. The evidence contradicts the notion that here, where
"older" strata (older by 200 million years!) rests on "younger"
strata, the inversion was caused by overthrusting or other
geologic events. 
Waisgerber and colleagues searched an area 50 feet above and
below the contact line between the Muav Limestone and Redwall
Limestone for physical evidences of the supposed 200
million-year hiatus between these two formations. They point out
that such evidences would include: 1) obvious, pronounced
erosional features incised into the highest of Muav Limestone
beds; 2) basal Redwall Limestone beds exhibiting boulders and
cobbles of eroded Muav Limestone beds; 3) Muav Limestone beds
dipping somewhat more steeply than overlying Redwall Limestone
beds; 4) Muav Limestone beds being somewhat more folded than
Redwall Limestone beds; 5) more complex joint systems in the
Muav than in the Redwall; 6) more faulting in the Muav than in
the Redwall, and particularly; 7) a decidedly different
lithology within each of the formations, due to supposed
changing regional environments. None of these features was seen.
All of the beds were seen to be homoclinal, each bed resting
directly on another bed with no known structural deviation.
joint planes commencing in alleged Muav Limestone beds seemingly
intersected Redwall Limestone similarly. There were no notches
and grooves (which would be evidence of a time gap, the time
required for the underlying strata to be incised by erosion) in
the underlying Cambrian Muav Limestone filled in by material
from the Mississippian Redwall Formation, as should be the case
if there were a huge time gap between the laying down of these
two formations. The evidence clearly indicates that the
Mississippian Redwall Limestone was laid down conformably on the
Cambrian Muav Limestone with no time gap in between. 
The authors of the paper cite the publications of several
uniformitarian geologists which also indicate the difficulty in
identifying evidences for an unconformity between the Muav and
Redwall Limestones. Their paper also contains citations from the
geological literature in which the authors admit the difficulty
in documenting other alleged unconformities in the Grand Canyon.
Waisgerber, Howe and Williams close their paper with the
following conclusions: 
  "1. The unconformity supposedly separating the Redwall 
  Limestone from the underlying Muav Limestone does not 
  exist. Consequently there cannot be any 200 million-year 
  "2. Since the 200 million-year hiatus cannot exist, the 
  dating of Redwall Limestone and Muav Limestone as 
  Mississippian and Cambrian with their supposed ages, 
  respectively, cannot be valid. 
  "3. Because the Paleozoic time periods cannot be valid, 
  then the longer time unit known as the Paleozoic Era 
  cannot be real. 
  "4. Since the Paleozoic Era cannot be a real geologic 
  time unit, historical geologic time must be suspect. 
  "5. Because historical geology is suspect, the 
  megaevolutionary model cannot be confirmed by historical 
  geology because there is no true definition of geologic 
  "6. Since the evolution model cannot be sustained 
  historically, it behooves all scientists to search for 
  alternative models as regards the origin of the earth, 
  the origin of life on earth, and the time necessary to 
  effect such origins. 
  "7. The various formations within the Grand Canyon 
  area could have been deposited one formation on 
  another, without the need for millions of years of 
  depositional time and millions of years of unaccountable 
  time (hiatuses)." 
*Precipitation Brought About by Mixing Brines*
The existence of extensive beds of rock salt (sodium chloride),
gypsum (CaSO4.2H20) and anhydrite (CaSO4) has long been
considered by uniformitarian geologists to be evidence for
evaporation, over tens of thousands or millions of years, of
shallow seas on inland lakes. Thus, these beds are commonly
referred to as evaporites. Many of these deposits are massive.
Some salt domes are described as having salt cores that have a
roughly circular or oval horizontal section 1,000 feet to two
miles or so in diameter. The core may extend downward for
several thousand feet. It is believed that there are plugs in
Europe extending downward 15,000-20,000 feet. Since it requires
evaporation of 8,000 feet of sea water to produce 100 feet of
salt, it would require an unbelievable amount of evaporation to
produce several thousand feet of salt and of course the sea
floor would have to continually subside at just the right rate
to maintain the existence of the sea. 
In recent times, geologists have recognized the many
difficulties in the evaporate scenario and have sought other
explanations for the formation of these extensive salt beds. One
of the more recent suggestions has been that these salt beds
formed when brines were intruded into the ocean from openings in
the sea floor (Nutting, 1984). Thus, vast time spans would not
be required for the formation for these so-called evaporites, or
salt formations. It has been suggested that the mixing of
different kinds of brines, say of sodium chloride and magnesium
chloride, each originally saturated, might cause precipitation
of one or both of the salts. Omer B. Raup has conducted some
experiments that have shown that much salt is precipitated when
brines are mixed. The precipitation took place without any
evaporation of water or change of temperature. 
F. L. Wilcox and S. T. Davidson (1976, pp. 87-9) thought it
worthwhile to repeat some of Raup's work and to carry the work
further and they have reported the results of their experiments
sponsored by the CRS Research Committee. They used saturated
solutions of sodium chloride (NaCl) and of magnesium chloride
(MgCl2). Mixing of the brines caused precipitation of NaCl. They
found that the greatest amount of NaCl precipitated, expressed
as percent of the total NaCl initially present in the mixed
brines, was obtained when the volume percent of the NaCl brine
was about 20% (that is, when the brines mixed consisted of 20 ml
of the saturated NaCl solution and 80 ml of the saturated MgCl2
solution, or comparable amounts). They postulate that when the
two solutions are mixed, the MgCl2 tends to attract water
molecules from NaCl. As the number of water molecules available
to NaCl decreases, the NaCl begins to precipitate from solution.
They suggested future experiments employing subsaturated
solutions and about 25 volume percentage NaCl solution and
testing the effect of temperature. 
*Investigation of an Elliptical Formation in the Tendurek
Mountains of Turkey*
William H. Shea (1976, pp. 91-5) described an elliptical,
boat-shaped object in the Tendurek Mountains about 30 miles
southwest of Mount Ararat in Turkey. This object was brought to
public attention in 1959. Ca oftain Sevket Kurtis had taken
photos in the vicinity the Tendurek mountains and he brought the
photos with him when he came to Ohio State University to do
advanced work in connection with aerial surveying. It was
reported that Captain Ilhan Duripinar had discovered the object
on one of the photos while using a stereoplanograph in preparing
maps. The picture was published in several newspapers and
magazines, along with speculations about the Ark. Shea did not
visit the site but his discussion was based on an examination of
the photo and a report by p that visited the site in 1960. They
found no arheological evidence of the Ark and no human
artifacts. Shea speculates that possibly this is the site where
the Ark landed (the site is at an elevation of 6,000 feet) but
that the Ark itself was destroyed by fire due to hot lava which
contacted the boat. 
Clifford L. Burdick, (1976, pp. 96-8) visited the site of this
object in 1973. He reports that the object is only a geological
and tectonic phenomenon. That year Burdick was a member of a
team that was on Mount Ararat searching for the Ark. In the
course of events, he met the commanding general at Dogubayaset,
a city near Mount Ararat. The general claimed he could take
Burdick to the site of the object for which they were searching,
the Ark of Noah. Burdick was escorted to the Tendurek Mountains
and to the site of the boatshaped object reported in 1959. 
According to Burdick's observation, a small fault or fracture of
about 500 feet occurred along a stream bed. Apparently a
granitic or rhyolitic type of intrusive lava had pushed up
through clay along the center of the formation, making an
elevated ridge along the center. Possibly as the molten or
plastic rock rose through the clay bed of the wash, it raised
the hardened clay with it. Burdick reports that the hardened
clay did resemble the sides of a ship, and from a distance might
be interpreted as such. Burdick's observations convinced him
that this object could not possibly have any relevance to the
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Barnes, Thomas G. 1975. The earth's magnetic energy provides
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___ and R. J. Upham, Jr. 1976. Another theory of gravitation: an
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___ R. R. Pemper and H. L. Armstrong. 1977. A classical
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___. 1980. New proton and neutron models. CRSQ 17:42-7. 
___. 1981. Satellite observations confirm the decline of the
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___ and F. S. Ramirez, IV. 1982a. Velocity effects on atomic
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___, et al. 1982b. Electric theory of gravitation. CRSQ
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___. 1974. Additional notes concerning the Lewis thrust-fault
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___. 1975. Geological formation near Loch Assynt compared with
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___. 1976. The elliptical formation in the Tendurek Mountains
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calcium carbonate in a laboratory situation. II. CRSQ 13:192-9.
___. 1978. Solution and deposition of calcium carbonate in a
laboratory situation. III. CRSQ 15:88-91. 
___. K. W. House and R. J. Herdklotz. 1981. Solution and
deposition of calcium carbonate in a laboratory situation. IV.
CRSQ 17:205-8, 226.
Wise, K. P. 1988. Portland cement dripstone. CRSQ 24:212-3.
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