Do you wish to take a tour of Crystal Cave, Mexico? If this has been your fantasy, you should get to know some important truths about this place before fulfilling your fantasy.
At a depth of 300 meters (980 feet), Cave of the Crystals, also known as Big Crystal Cave, is a giant cave attached to the Naica Mine in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico.
It is located inside the limestone host rock of the mine and has a length of around 109 meters (358 feet) and a volume of 5,000 to 6,000 cubic meters (180,000 to 210,000 cub ft).
One of the largest natural crystals ever discovered, gigantic selenite crystals (gypsum, CaSO4 2 H2O) can be found in the place.
1. About The Crystal Cave, Mexico
This giant crystal cave is 11.40 meters (37.4 feet) in length, has a volume of around 5 meters (180 feet), and weighs approximately 12 tonnes.
The cave is very warm when it is not flooded, with air temperatures as high as 58 °C (136 °F) and humidity levels ranging from 90 to 99 percent.
With significantly wetter air, this temperature is comparable to Death Valley temperature records. These reasons account for the cave’s relative lack of exploration.
However, people can withstand exposure for only about 10 minutes at a time if they are not properly protected. The actual Big Crystal Cave wasn’t discovered until 2000. Before anyone got to know that the water was full of enormous selenite columns, the Peoles Mining Company sucked it out.
The first persons to see its crystals were brothers Pedro and Juan Sanchez, two miners with the group, who approached the drying cave on foot.
Due to understandable safety concerns, initial explorations into the cave were only allowed to last 10 minutes. Yet, teams of scientists were eventually able to somewhat extend their visits with the help of specially-made cooling suits.
The garments had respirators that supplied cold, breathable air to those wearing them. Excursions from 15 to 60 minutes were finally made possible.
The scientific community benefited from the evacuation of the water from this cave. Unfortunately, it might not be good news for the crystals themselves.
People ceased pumping in 2017 and let groundwater re-fill the cave. The crystals had been exposed to the air for almost two decades prior to that.
2. Formation of the Crystal
Three to five kilometers (two to three miles) of subterranean magma chamber are located beneath Naica. The sulfide ions (S2) in the groundwater were heated by the magma.
The mineral-saturated heated surface water came into touch with the cool oxygenated surface water, but the two did not mix due to their different densities.
Anhydrite abrupted as a result of the oxygen’s sluggish diffusion into the heated water, which converted the sulfides (S2) into sulfates (SO2 4). (CaSO4).
More so, the hydrothermal and sedimentary anhydrite crystals disintegrated as the cave’s average temperature begins to fall below 56 °C (133 °F), and gypsum (CaSO4 2 H2O) crystals formed.
The hydrated sulfate gypsum crystallized at an extremely slow rate over the course of at least 500,000 years, which gets to form the enormous crystals found in the world today.
3. When was the Cave of Crystals Discovered?
Under the workings of the Naica Mine, a cavern known as the Cave of Swords was found by miners in 1910.
It is above the Cave of the Crystals at a depth of 120 meters (390 feet) and is home to stunning, smaller crystals that are 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) in length.
The growth of the crystals may have come to a halt at this level because transition temperatures may have dropped there more quickly.
The largest Crystal Cave was discovered in April 2000 by miners building a new tunnel for the Industrias Peñoles mining firm based in Naica, Mexico.
They did this while drilling through the Naica underground, which they were concerned might flood the mine. The mining complex in Naica contains resources like silver, zinc, and lead.
The Cave of Crystals is a horseshoe-shaped cave in limestone. Crystallized blocks with flawless facets cover the entire surface.
Big crystals frequently beam protrude from the floor and the blocks. The Naica Project tried to visually photograph the crystals before they further deteriorated because the crystals dissolve in the air.
Queen’s Eye Cave and Candles Cave, the two smaller caves, were discovered in 2000, and More so, the gypsum in the water often transformed into the translucent that we see today.
Over the years, the crystal has constantly grown. However, they won’t continue growing unless there is a flood in the cave again.
More so, the gypsum in the water often transformed into the translucent that we see today. Over the years, the crystal has constantly grown. However, they won’t continue growing unless there is a flood in the cave again.
Below the cave is a big pool of magma that springs up from the Earth’s core. Due to the amount of heat from the magma, the cave can be very unbearable for a very long time.
4. Facts About Crystal Cave, Mexico
In Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico, 300 meters (980 feet) below the surface, there is a connection between the Cave of the Crystals and the Naica Mine.
1. The Cave of the Crystals wasn’t found until two miners broke into the vast underground room in the year 2000 while searching for signs of silver, despite the Naica Mine having been mined for millennia. A few days later, an iron door was built to guard the entry.
2. The “Cave of the Crystals” (Cueva de los Cristales), as it is sometimes referred to, is actually three joined caves, the largest of which is much larger than the others.
3. You can find some towering stacks of selenite inside this enormous cavern, moving to heights that make people seem insignificant by contrast.
4. The tallest crystals, which are 11 meters (36 feet) tall and weigh about 55 tonnes, was measured by some tourist some years again.
5. The gypsum in the water often transformed into the translucent that we see today. Over the years, the crystal has constantly grown. However, they won’t continue growing unless there is a flood in the cave again.
6. Below the cave is a big pool of magma that springs up from the Earth’s core. Due to the amount of heat from the magma, the cave can be very unbearable for a very long time.
7. It is impossible for humans to spend anything more than a few minutes inside the cave because of how hot it is.
8. The temperature in the main chamber is 150°F (65.6°C) while the smaller caverns are a bit cold at 100°F (37.8°C). So, when an extra layer is added, it is possible for the condition to increase to 100% close to humidity.
9. There is a story that perfectly explains the risks that come with not being in a proper protective suit before going into the cave. The miner story perfectly explains these risks.
10. These miners knew the risks that came with entering the cave without using the protective door but they still went further.
5. What Happened to Crystal Cave Some Years Ago?
When the first images of the Naica Crystal Cave went viral, the entire world was in awe.
Its giant crystals were up to 14 meters long and two meters thick, located inside a cave so unfriendly that no one could manage to stay inside it for more than a few minutes.
One of the very rare sites on earth that can be referred to as “the most beautiful spot on earth” and “one step from Hell” can both be used for this amazing cave.
The cave was once only accessible through a tunnel in the Naica Mine, the biggest lead, zinc, and silver mine in Mexico, which Industrias Penoles runs in Chihuahua.
However, both the tunnel and the cave are now completely submerged. Nonetheless, that can work in favor of natural phenomena.
New side tunnels were with the idea of installing an air-conditioning unit there for the deepest functional of activities.
The Cueva de las Espadas, also known as the Cave of Swords, was the most well-known. Despite the cave’s relentless destruction over a century, it still had crystals up to four meters long.
The surroundings were incredibly beautiful and absolutely entrancing. Allowing people to visit that incredible location and contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge.
Particularly about how this system came to be, as well as the great microorganisms that are surviving in this harsh climate, was a priceless gift to the public.
6. What is Crystal Cave Temperature Like?
The actual crystals are made of selenite, which is gypsum that has been crystallized. This is the same substance that is used to make drywall.
Yet, these crystals developed over a period of around 500,000 years in a heated, mineral-rich water solution. Throughout the whole period that the crystals were growing, the cave’s interior remained extremely heated.
Due to the cave’s proximity to a lava chamber, located deep beneath, it is still extremely hot within.
With a relative humidity of over 90% and a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, the air feels like it is 105 degrees Celsius (228F) Without appropriate protection gear, entering the cave can be so hot in 15 minutes.
The fear of slipping into deep trenches or being trapped on a sharp crystal will make an adventure much more difficult because the body will lose higher cognitive functions under great heat.
If you are with a camera with moving parts and tape systems it won’t operate at all without being preheated and carefully brought to temperature.
As soon as you enter the cave, you will become overheated. If you stay inside for too long, heat stroke and death will be unavoidable.
Your time in the cave will be extended if you use a suit, but it is up to you to know when you’ve been exposed for too long. The maximum is 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the person.
There are multiple levels of protection in each outfit. The first is an insulated vest that guards against frostbite, which can happen when the ice comes into direct contact with the skin.
Then, there is the ice vest, which is a mesh vest with a number of gel-filled pouches that are kept frozen. The core body temperature decreases because of this. A pair of tough overalls are placed on top of everything. They help shield you from the ice’s jagged crystals and keep the cave’s radiant heat away from the ice.
The respirator pack is also very important to use. The metal ice bottles inside this specially constructed backpack composed of insulating foam are frozen.
More so, the air is blown over the bottles by a fan and then pumped up a hose to a mask that resembles the kind worn by jet pilots.
As long as the ice stays frozen in the pack, this method enables you to breathe chilled air. When using the suits, you might look like an astronaut getting ready for a space walk. In the real sense of it, despite the severe surroundings, there are few differences.
7. Can you Visit the Cave of Crystals?
The Cave of Crystals is regrettably off-limits to tourists. Even experts need a special permit to enter this giant cave due to the hot temperature that makes it dangerous to visit.
Even if the cave is off-limits, you can still engage in Naica’s mining tradition. On December 4, you’ll get the chance to observe World Mining Day if you travel to Naica.
The small community celebrates the contributions of its miners and the great wealth they have extracted from the earth each year.
The distance between Naica and Chihuahua, Mexico, is one hour and thirty minutes. Chihuahua is a stunning town with incredible art, architecture, and history.
The Grutas Nombre de Dios cave system, a remarkable maze of tunnels and caves filled with crystals, stalagmites, and stalactites, is also located there.
Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day, you can take a guided tour or explore the on your own the beautiful caverns.
Although the Grutas Nombre de Dios caverns are secure, several of the narrow chambers could appear difficult for anyone who is claustrophobic.
This is because this cave system can get chilly, as opposed to the Cave of Crystals, you should wear sturdy shoes and carry a sweater or light jacket.
Children may engage in this crystal cave Mexico tour for only 50 pesos, or about $3, compared to adults who spend 50 pesos.
This is a fantastic method to experience the province of Chihuahua’s underground realm if you’re interested in doing so. You can use Chihuahua International Airport and take a 16-minute cab or Uber trip to Chihuahua proper to reach Chihuahua or Naica.
Take a one-hour bus from Chihuahua to Delicias, Mexico, and then a 40-minute taxi ride to go to Naica if you want to travel from there. Be sure your taxi is taking the right route by tracking your path on MAPS.ME, which is offline-compatible.
8. Rounding Up
In February 2011, the cave was discussed on the Discovery Channel episode Naica: Beyond The Crystal Cave.
It was previously seen on the second season premiere of the Life After Humans episode “Depths of Destruction” on the History Channel.
Moreover, these caves were also featured on the program Angry Planet, in episode 311. There may be other chambers, as evidenced by exploration, but doing so would have required big crystal cave death.
After mining activities ended in October 2015, the caves were permitted to re-flood because the cave’s accessibility depends on the mine’s water pumps.
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9. Frequently Asked Questions
Listed below are the frequently asked questions on the Crystal Cave, Mexico
9.1. What was the Biggest Crystal Ever Found?
The biggest crystal ever found is gypsum beams.
9.2. What Happens if you Touch a Cave?
It can likely break and the oil in the hands can stop its growth.
9.3. What is the Scariest Cave?
The scariest cave is the moaning cavern.
9.4. What Lives in the Crystal Cave?
Mice and woodrats live in crystal caves.
9.5. Is there Life in the Crystal Cave?
Yes, there is life in the crystal cave. Microbes have been seen in the walls of caves by researchers.
9.6. How Old is the Oldest Crystal on Earth?
The oldest crystal on earth is 4.4 billion years old.
9.7. What is the Most Valuable Crystal on Earth?
Tanzanite is the most valuable crystal on Earth.
9.8. Which is the Most Precious Crystal Found on the Earth?
The blue diamond is the most precious crystal on the earth.
9.9. Is Cave Water Drinkable?
No, tourists are advised not to drink cave water.