Crystal Cave Geology

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  • Topic: Gypsum, Selenite, Temperature
  • Pages : 4 (1663 words )
  • Download(s) : 85
  • Published : April 22, 2013
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Crystal Cave of Giants
The Naica mine is located in Chihuahua, Mexico and was first discovered in 1794. The mines primary interest was silver and gold until about the 1900’s when a large-scale mining began as Zinc and Lead become more valuable resources. This is the largest mine in the country that produces lead, zinc and silver, among other minerals. The entrance is located 1385 m above sea level in the north of the 12km.-long sierra Naica. In April of 2000, brothers Elroy and Javier Delgado were drilling a new tunnel into the mine when they discovered a cavern full of natural treasure. The cavern is located one thousand feet down and it holds the world’s largest crystals on earth measuring from 36 feet and weighing up to 55 tons. The oldest crystal within the cavern started forming between 200,000 to 500,000 years ago. There are 140 crystals documented for and with a total estimate of 170 actual crystals within the cave. It is believed the crystals reached their colossal size due to the mineral-rich water in which they were submerged in. The constant temperature of 136 degrees Fahrenheit has allowed the massive gypsum crystals to take their shape. For about 600,000 year’s mineral-rich water filtered through the cave, depositing molecules of calcium sulfate in great amounts. The intrusive magma deep below the surface superheated the water, and then about half a million years ago the water temperature cooled to about 136 degrees Fahrenheit which then allowed the calcium sulfate in the water to form Selenite crystals. The water levels in the cave remained the same for hundreds of thousands of years allowing the crystals to reach colossal sizes. In 1985 miners unknowingly drained the water from the cave, and the crystals no longer immersed in the mineral-rich water stopped growing. The Naica mine is located on the northern side of the Sierra de Naica, 112km southeast of Chihuahua City in northern Mexico. The area is dominated by a 12-km-long, 7-km-wide...
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