In a remote area of northern Mexico lies one of the most astonishingly mind-blowing geological wonders on earth – The Crystal Cave of the Giants. This beautifully shimmering natural wonder is found one hour south of Chihuahua and buried more than a thousand feet below the unassuming Naica lead and silver mine.
The Crystal Cave of the Giants was discovered in the year 2000 by two brothers searching for more lead and silver below the already existing Naica mine. The brothers were working for the Naica mine, which was investing in exploratory drilling in hopes of expanding a mine which had been in operation since the late 1700’s. What the brothers found was something of far greater beauty and wealth.
The Crystal Cave of the Giants might never have been found if not for the Naica mine above. The cave remained filled with water for over 600,000 years until it was inadvertently drained by the Naica mining company. Therefore, the Crystal Cave of the Giants is only temporary. The Naica mining company continues to pump over 16,000 gallons of water out of the cave 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. Once the mining operations above are complete the Naica mining company will stop pumping water out of the cave and it will return to it’s natural state – submerged in water.
A THING OF BEAUTY
When you first step into the Crystal Cave of the Giants you are immediately greeted by some of the largest crystals on earth. Gigantic, shimmering spikes of crystal are seen jutting into the cave from every direction like magician’s swords being thrust into his trick box. The largest crystals in the Crystal Cave of the Giants are just over forty feet in length and weigh over ten tons!
The Crystal Cave of the Giants began it’s unimaginable formation over 600,000 years ago. A cave filled with mineral rich water remaining at a constant temperature of 135°F for over half a million years provided the perfect conditions for the formation of these massive crystal structures. The growth of these crystals relied on it’s being submerged in water. Its growth will remain stunted until the cave’s inevitable re-flooding.
FEELING HOT, HOT, HOT?
The Crystal Cave of the Giants is one of the most inhospitable places on earth. While most caves remain at a constant temperature throughout the year, the Crystal Cave of the Giants remain a constant 112°F with a humidity ranging from 90%-100%. Caused by a gargantuan magma chamber lying just beneath the cave, these unbearable and oppressive conditions make exploration a dangerously risky prospect.
With each entry into the cave comes the very real risk of heatstroke. A desperate crystal looter once entered the cave with bags of fresh air in hopes of nabbing a few of the precious crystals. His body was found the next day not only dead but completely roasted.
Entering the cave requires an elaborate outfit that consist of an ice pack-filled body suit and a respirator which continuously pumps cooled air. Even with the these aids explorers are only allowed to remain in the cave for twenty minutes at a time and require a lengthy period of rest and re-hydration before being allowed another entry attempt.
Because of the intense dangers posed by the cave, only scientists and miners are allowed in the lower chambers of the cave. However, visitors are still allowed in the upper chamber. Arrangements can be made by contacting the Naica mining company.
This article was written by Jeffrey Binney, an expert
in the Mexico Travel category at www.yoexpert.com