Crystal Cave A Beauty Unmatched
The limestone cavern and its glittering beams were discovered in 2000 by two brothers drilling nearly 300 m underground in the mine Naica, one of the most productive Mexican cave that provides tons of lead and silver annually. This cave looks like a crystal forest, wide and thick, some ten meters longer and older than half a million years.
Formed over millennia, these crystals are among the largest yet discovered on Earth. Geological processes underlying the deposits of lead and silver also provide raw materials for crystals, and the Naica miners had before crystal caverns over more than impressive, but much smaller. In the cave, the temperature passes 44 degrees C, humidity 90-100% excess. Fallen obelisks, pillars of light, the crystals are enormous, some several feet thick.
On the floor and walls are a multitude of smaller crystals, sharp as blades and flawlessly transparent. Crystals are made of selenite, a common mineral, gypsum. Selenite is translucent and soft, easily scratched even with nails. For hundreds of thousands of years, groundwater saturated with calcium sulfate, filtered through the many caves in Naica, heated by magma below. As the magma cooled, water temperature stabilizes at 58 degrees cave C. At this temperature, minerals in the water began converting to selenite, whose molecules are deposited as tiny bricks to form crystals.