Friday, June 10, 2011

The Sistine Chapel of Crystals

When I was a kid, 
I loved to fantasize about what was in the middle of the earth. 
Dinosaurs? Gems? Maybe a tunnel to China? 
Well, these caves certainly satisfy my every dream of the netherworld.

Nearly 1,000ft(300 meters) below the Naica mountain in the Chihuahua Desert (Mexico)...

 The Cave of Crystals (Cueva de los Cristales) was discovered by two brothers drilling in the Naica lead and silver mine for the Industrias Peñoles company in 2000

The cave contains some of the largest natural crystals ever found: translucent gypsum beams measuring up to 36 feet (11 meters) long and weighing up to 55 tons.

Modern-day mining operations exposed the natural wonder by pumping water out of the 30-by-90-foot (10-by-30-meter) cave, which was found in 2000 near the town of Delicias.


Geologist Juan Manuel García-Ruiz says, 
"There is no other place on the planet where the mineral world reveals itself in such beauty."

It takes 20 minutes to drive to its entrance through a twisting mine-shaft, haven't deterred would-be looters - one of the crystals bears a deep scar where someone has tried, and failed, to cut through it.

But the cave has now been fitted with a heavy steel door, the better to preserve this beautiful wonder for generations to come.

To learn more about these bad-ass caves, check this out.

1 comment:

  1. Love this - am googling more as we speak, it's like the ultimate underground jewelry box!