Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrNothing compares to Cueva de los Cristales, or ‘Cave of Crystals’. It takes approximately 20 minutes to get to the cave entrance via a winding mind shaft. It is a descent into darkness and humidity. By the time the entrance is reached, the body is glistening with sweat. Then there they are…enormous pillars of light, some several feet thick. In fact, there is every shape of crystal possible, and a mystical experience begins. Imagine a crystal so big, a whole family and a few relatives could sit on it; or a few dozen tiny silvers of crystals being born out of a main one, resembling a fine –toothed hair brush. This is essentially the Cave of Crystals.
The Naica Caves of Chihuahua, Mexico, is the largest crystal cave ever found. These caves were only discovered a mere decade ago, and by accident. In 2000, two miners working for the Mexican mining company, ‘Penoles’, excavated a new tunnel only to have the crystal cave reveal its ominous beauty. Some scientists have nicknamed the Naica Crystal Caves the “Sistine Chapel of Crystals”, with monumental crystal formations reaching over 50 feet in length and 50 ton weight maximum, the largest ever found on Earth. The breathtaking crystals exist in big pockets down 1,000 feet inside the steep mountains of Naica . The largest, previously known crystals came from a sister cave nearby called ‘The Cave of Swords’ which is all the part of the same mine system. This mine system is still in operation, and still discovering new uncharted territories in caves.
The Great Geology DiscoverySituated close to Chihuahua Mexico, the Naica Caves quickly have become one of the most prominent findings in the entire history of geology. The huge gypsum crystals have been growing for tens of thousands of years. The crystals are abundant is selenite (gypsum) but scientists have only recently discovered what is inside of them. By taking over 60 samples from minute fluid pockets inside the crystals, they have tried for the last four years to identify the bacteria, viruses, and archaea of these mysterious crystals. The National Cave and Karst Research Institute in New Mexico has said of the spectacular crystal caves, “Nothing that we’ve found is known to science.” Many of the crystals can be seen at the Smithsonian Institution . This may be the only place for now to view the crystals from the Naica caves due to unacceptable conditions in the caves.
The only genetic relatives to mimic some of Naica’s traits extend as far as the caves in Spain, Italy, Australia, and Russian’s Kamchatka Peninsula; all of these volcanic soils have similar environments to Naica, where temperatures can exceed 135 °F with 100 percent relative humidity. The snow white crystals, able to withstand the average heat of 136°F, form from hydrothermal fluids. The water that submerses the crystals is rich in minerals, constantly helping them to grow; the crystals are basically in a sauna.
Impassable TemperaturesGeological researchers prepare extensively for the intolerable temperatures of these crystal caves. Special suits are mandated to keep anyone who enters the caves protected from excessive heat, and even then, people can only withstand the temperatures for several minutes at a time. Any time past the time barrier can lead to several health disorders, mainly mental functioning.
People who have had the rare opportunity to visit the caves have not always been so lucky. Those who tried to stay longer in the cruel temperatures have lost consciousness. One man, attempting to steal the spectacular crystals ended up inadvertently pinned by the exact crystal he was trying to steal, causing his death shortly thereafter. A series of measures have been taken to prevent people from removing the magnificent crystals. Yet, it has become controversial as to whether or not the Naica caves should be a tourist attraction. Some argue it is not feasible due to the hot nature of the crystal caves, unless they can stabilize the environment, as well as protect the invaluable crystals from theft. As of now, there is no public access. In fact, very little of the public has been able to witness such beauty. The hot mine follows a fissure-like fault and the main room with the largest crystals is now sealed off with a Plexiglas wall. Even touching the aluminum frames set around the glass panels would cause a serious burn to the skin.
The mining company, Industrias Penoles, who owns the Naica Caves, have agreed the difficulties of exploration are immense and the total size of the cave is still unknown. They are only able to explore ten meters at a time. The ultimate goal is to develop special breathing and protective wear which allows researchers more feasible time in the cave. Scientists now are petitioning the Mexican government for UNESCO World Heritage status. Naica caves continue to rise to fame in the public eye, because no one has ever seen anything on earth quite like these gargantuan and abundant crystals.
About CrystalsCrystals are desirable due to the beliefs of their healing powers. Although very little scientific evidence supports the alternative medicine technique, people will still gather crystals as a deeply spiritual way to connect with the universe through energy channels. Early use of crystals as a healing property arise from different cultures claims, such as the Hopi Indians, Hawaiian native, and the Chinese who have regarded Jade as a healing tool for centuries. Crystals have been utilized by magicians and shamans all throughout history. Quartz crystals have been discovered as artifacts in many ancient archaeological digs, even Atlantis produced crystal artifacts. Crystals, gems, and stones fascinate by their color, meaning, and functionality, with collectors all over the world. Many people believe crystals are transducers of light and energy, meaning they can take one form of energy and cause it to change form. Whether or not there is any truth to this, crystals are beautiful, mysterious, and powerful to the eye. Especially when completely surrounded by the magnificent crystals of the Naica Caves.
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Author: bluvahalla. Last updated: Apr 07, 2015