Monday, January 17, 2011

Cave of Crystals

Hidden deep beneath the surface of the Earth is one of the greatest natural marvels on the planet: a giant crystal cave with crystals up to 36 feet long and weighing 55 tons. But this scorching cavern could kill humans after just 15 minutes of exposure.

In 2000, two miners found the cave more than 1,000 feet below the town of Naica in Mexico’s mineral-rich Chihuahuan desert. The Naica mine, run by the Penoles Group, is one of the most productive lead mines in the world, and a huge supplier of the world’s silver. Temperatures in the tunnels hover around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Brothers Eloy and Javier Delgado were excavating a tunnel when they stumbled upon the entrance to the cave. “What we first saw when we went in was a bar, as if ice,” Eloy Delgado said. “And I went in, I shined the light on it, and it reflected everywhere!”

The miner’s light illuminated a cavern the size of a football field filled with the largest natural crystals in the world.

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