The earth is a fascinating place.
Chihuahua, Mexico is home to a giant cave that holds a natural crystal wonder. Many people travel to this area of the world to see these naturally forming crystals.
Let’s take a look at this natural wonder of the world.
Chihuahua Mexico Limestone Cavern
In Chihuahua, Mexico, you will find a sight to behold that’s buried deep beneath the earth’s surface.
Wikipedia explains that this naturally occurring wonder is called the Cave of the Crystals or sometimes the Giant Crystal Cave.
This is a cave that is connected to the Naica Mine. It is located 300 meters beneath the surface of the earth.
The cave’s natural temperature is extremely high, with regular air temperatures reaching up to 136 degrees Fahrenheit. The atmosphere is also between 90 and 99 percent humidity.
Because of these harsh elements, the cave is still relatively unexplored. With the proper protective gear, people can usually expect to stay in the cave for up to ten minutes at a time.
The Cave of Swords was first discovered in 1910 by brothers Javier and Eloy Delgado. This cave is located above the Cave of the Crystals, right underneath the Naica mine in Chihuahua, Mexico. It is known for its smaller, longer crystals.
The Cave of the Crystals wasn’t officially discovered until 2000. Miners who worked in the Naica mine came across it when excavating a new tunnel for the mining company.
Chihuahua Mexico Largest Crystals in the World
When miners broke into this chamber while excavating a new tunnel, they came across some of the largest naturally forming crystals known to humankind.
Independent explains that these crisscrossing crystal shards can measure up to 12 meters in length.
There are two theories regarding the formation of these crystals, which we will discuss below. Their period indicates that they were formed over half a million years ago.
When mining operations began in this particular location, workers relied on water being pumped from surrounding caves, like the Cave of Swords. This inadvertently led to the Cave of the Crystals being emptied of water, which was the catalyst for its discovery.
As mentioned above, the conditions of the cave are hazardous to humans. In fact, they’re so dangerous to humans that higher functioning of the brain can quickly deteriorate if exposed to the elements. Breathing will also become difficult.
Scientists have been exploring the existence of the cave since 2006. When they do so, they wear protective suits that are lined with ice. They also have cold-water respirators attached to the suits.
Despite this protection, scientists can only stay in the cave for forty-five minutes.
The Naica mine and cave are located in the town of the same name, which has a population of approximately 5,000.
The Formation of Crystals in the Cave
Tony Burton of Mexconnect explains in detail how these giant crystals came to be formed.
He says that the first theory suggests that hydrothermal fluids were responsible. The pre-existing steam-filled cave would have consisted of hydrothermal fluids for the growth of ore deposits, too.
However, because both these crystals and the ore deposits were formed by hydrothermal fluid, it’s strongly suggested that they were created around the same time.
The second theory surrounding the formation of these giant crystals is that rainwater trickled in after the ore deposits were formed. The rainwater would have dissolved some of the sulfuric rocks, creating sulfuric acid.
This acid would have then reacted with the already existing limestone. From this, gypsum would have been made. Gypsum would then have been responsible for the slow but permanent growth of these giant crystals.
Additionally, scientists also believe that they have found DNA from ancient bacterial life. This DNA has been discovered in air bubbles trapped within the crystals themselves.
The approximated growth rate of these enormous crystals is 1.5 mm every 1,000 years. This means that the longest crystals would have taken over 500,000 years to grow.
Chihuahua Mexico Limestone Cave
Discover a natural wonder of the world.
Tucked away beneath the Naica mine in Chihuahua, Mexico, is an astonishing creation that has existed here for up to half a million years.
While there is some disagreement about the exact process, these crystals went through to form, what is clear is that they are the largest naturally forming crystals ever discovered by humans.
Beneath that small town of Naica is a wondrous sight to behold, closely connected to the rocks.
Travel to Chihuahua, Mexico and discover the beauty of the giant crystals in Cave of the Crystals.