Columns are formed by the unions of stalagmites and stalactites. As compound cave formations, they include among their ranks the tallest free-standing speleothems in the world. (Certain flowstone falls--sheets of calcite lining vertical shafts--are undoubtedly taller, but rarely measured). The towering specimens of the upper left photo, from Ogle Cave in Carlsbad Cavern National Park, New Mexico, USA, are indeed impressive. These, however, are only about half as high as the 61-meter tall column in Tham Sao Hin, a cave in Thailand. An image of this can be seen on the Virtual Cave's page devoted to the world's largest speleothems.

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The Virtual Cave Created: June 19, 1995
Last Updated: November 20, 2007
Author: Djuna Bewley