Giant Crystal Cave Facts
- Perhaps most notably of all, the term Giant Crystal Cave refers to one of the truly fabulous marvels of Nature. In fact, in many ways, this astounding location currently remains one of the most unique of its kind ever discovered. Furthermore, humans discovered this breathtaking place completely by accident, in the year 2000, in the course of mining activities.
- However, the very nature and precise location of the stunning site will forever make it unavailable to the general public. That’s because of its close proximity to a nearby magma chamber. In this, Nature provided this unbelievably unique site with a measure of built-in security from the intrusion of man. Therefore, the very forces that created it continue to protect and preserve it.
- Quite sadly, this fact made it impossible to visit this geologist’s paradise without extremely specialized protective gear. In fact, the temperature and humidity are so high that the heat index is 228 degrees Fahrenheit (105 C). It’s a moot point now, however. After a measure of scientific exploration, the pumps keeping water out of the mine were stopped. The cave then refilled with water, thus preventing further access.
Giant Crystal Cave Physical Description
First of all, the incredible Giant Crystal Cave serves as home to the largest crystals on earth. In point of fact, some of these attain a size as great as 34 ft (11 m) long and as estimated weight 55 tons. These monstrously large crystals have a composition primarily consisting of selenite. This mineral, the nearby magma chamber deposited over the course of countless centuries.
Furthermore, these enormous and remarkably impressive crystals formed as a result of an extremely special combination of factors. This process began with greatly heated groundwater being saturated with sulfide ions. Subsequent to this action, significantly colder surface water leaked down and contacted the mineral-saturated hot water. This formed the next step in the process of formation.
However, the two supplies of water did not mix together. This occurred due to the difference in the relative densities of the two separate water supplies. As a result of these unique factors, hydrated sulfates, primarily gypsum, formed at an extremely slow rate over the course of at least 500,000 years. As these crystallized, they formed the enormous crystals present in the cave today.
Giant Crystal Cave Location, Condition, and Exploration
The absolutely astounding Giant Crystal Cave formed in a region that now constitutes the area of Chihuahua, Mexico, in North America. In addition, and rather surprisingly to those who discovered it, the cave sits a mere 1000 ft (300 m) beneath the surface. Despite that, it remained unknown until modern times.
But, despite its proximity to the surface, due to the extreme conditions within the remarkable cave, humans still know very little about it. What we do know can be summed up rather briefly. Further, for the moment, no plans exist to explore the cave further, to preserve it in its natural state.
The amazing cave formed in what approximates a roughly horseshoe shape. It also lies within an enormous limestone deposit. Also, faceted crystalline blocks cover the floor, and the enormous crystalline beams protrude through these. This creates incredible patterns, serving to enhance its beauty.
When man originally discovered the cave, water filled the inside. The cave later became accessible only because the nearby mining operation which discovered it kept pumping the water away. Only authorized scientific researchers had access permits, due to the conditions. Finally, experts made the decision to allow the site to flood again, because exposure to air was beginning to erode the crystals.