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Giant Selenite Crystals - The Naica Mine of Chihuahua, Mexico

National Geographics Video

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Naica Mine

The Naica Mine of Chihuahua, Mexico, is a working mine known for its extraordinary crystals. Naica is a lead, zinc and silver mine in which large voids have been found, containing crystals of Selenite (gypsum) as large as four feet in diameter and 50 feet long. The chamber holding these crystals is known as the Crystal Cave of Giants, and is approximately 1000 feet down in the limestone host rock of the mine. The crystals were formed by hydrothermal fluids emanating from the magma chambers below.

The Naica mine was first discovered by early prospectors in 1794 south of Chihuahua City. The cavern was discovered while miners were drilling through the Naica fault. The Cave of Swords is another chamber in the Naica Mine, containing similar large crystals. They struck a vein of silver at the base of a range of hills called Naica by the Tarahumara Indians. From the time of that discovery, until around 1900, the primary interest was silver and gold. Around 1900, large-scale mining began as zinc and lead became more valuable.

During the Mexican Revolution, the mine produced a great deal of wealth. During this time, revolutionary troops entered the town and demanded money from the owners. One of them was assasinated when he refused to pay, causing the mine to shut down from 1911 to 1922.

Just before the mine was closed, the famous Cave of Swords was discovered at a depth of 400 feet. Due to the incredible crystals, the cave was preserved. In one part there are so many crystals on one of the walls, they appear to be like an underwater reef moving in a gentle undulating motion in an ocean current.

In April 2000, brothers Juan and Pedro Sanchez were drilling a new tunnel when they made a truly spectacular discovery. While Naica miners are accustomed to finding crystals, Juan and Pedro were absolutely amazed by the cavern that they found that contained several mega-crystals in ever direction.

When inside the great cathedral of crystals, the pressure of intense heat creates a gamut of emotions, and sometimes, halucinations. One can only remain in the cavern for a short period of time.

Crystal Formations

Geologists report that these natural crystal formations are incredibly complex, yet so simple. They have a magical or metaphysical personality independent of their chemical structures. There is a magma chamber two to three miles below the mountain and the heat from this compressed lava travels through the faults up into the area of the mine. Super heated fluids carry the minerals and form the crystals. The fluids travel along the Naica fault, enter voids in the bedrock, and then form entirely natural structures that are not easily explained scientifically. It’s believed that this crystal assists with mental focus, growth, luck, immunity, and soothes the emotions.

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