See The Giant Crystal Cave in Mexico
If you’re one of those brave folks vacationing in Mexico and looking for someplace to go that just might keep you safe from the increasingly present collection of questionable characters there, you might wish to check out the tiny dog town known as Chihuahua, Mexico. It is there you will find one of the more unusual tourist spots in North America. It’s named the Giant Crystal Cave, the Cave of the Crystals or in Spanish Cueva de Los Cristales.
The Giant Crystal Cave is located off of the Naica Mine. It is 980 feet under the surface of Nacia in Chihuahua. Believed by some to be one of the earth’s most important treasures, it is also now a local landmark. The Giant Crystal Cave is located 900 feet underground. The main chamber contains literally dozens of giant selenite crystals. The crystals have reportedly been there for more than a century.
The neighboring Naica Mine was discovered in the 18th century back when silver was highly valued in Mexico. Miners struck a significant vein of silver. As the 20th century opened, heavy silver mining began in earnest. Immediately prior to the official closing of the Naica Mine in 1911, miners stumbled upon what is today known as the Giant Crystal Cave. A pair of researchers, Juan and Pedro Sanchez, rediscovered the cave in 2000 while searching for the Naica mine. According to some sources, what they found was “amazing” and “unforgettable”.
The largest crystal there (as this piece goes to press anyway) is 39 feet long, between 12 and 13 feet wide and weighs 55 tons. In fact, they hold the record for being “the largest selenite crystals in the world”. Believed to be over 500,000 years old, the crystals formed due to all the magma under the surface which over time were shaped by natural phenomena. The Giant Crystal Cave is itself very hot. The temperature of the air sometimes hits 136 °F with a humidity of 90 to 99 percent. These conditions have resulted in much of it to remain generally unexplored.
A research team of scientists named the Naica Project team, have more recently been researching the caverns. They have determined that an unprotected visitor could not last for more than 10 minutes in the main chamber. While the Giant Crystal Cave is said by numerous sources to provide tourists with what one might call “a once-in-a-lifetime view” spending any significant amount of time without the proper equipment is not possible. Experts also note that even briefly climbing on the crystals is notably difficult. All tourists must be accompanied by specialists. It is a memorable but potentially dangerous spot.
The Giant Crystal Cave has also earned an interesting reputation. Local legend has it that the crystals there have special healing qualities and that tourists who touch them will look younger. Selenite, (like the crystal), is the name of the Greek goddess of the moon, who provided emotional stability and luck so the unusual tourist spot is also considered “a magical” spot as well. Unfortunately, in order to explore any other chambers there, many of the giant crystals would have to be altered if not totally removed. Furthermore, in order to get into the cave, the mine’s water pumps must be in operation. When all of the minerals have been extracted from the neighboring mine said pumps will be turned off and the water level will soon rise to their previous levels. Until that day, however, the Giant Crystal Cave remains.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)