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Mexico's Crystal Cave

Translucent gold and white selenite crystals growing up to 50 feet high and four feet in diameter crowd the space inside a cave in southern Chihuahua, Mexico. Dubbed Las cuevas de los cristales, the cave of the crystals is an extension of the Naica Mine, and was found after a blasting 300-meters deep that revealed an open fissure in April 2000. The mine harbors a variety of minerals in its limestone bedrock, including: gypsum, zinc, calcite, galena, pyrite, anhydreite, fluorite, silver, copper and chalcopyrite. The mine was first made famous for large selenite crystals in 1910 when a similar cave known as las cuevas de las espadas was found at a depth of 120 meters. But the cave of swords is no match for the crystals in the newly exposed cavern. Temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) and 100 percent humidity have stymied physical exposure of the cave to scientists and pictorial exposure to the public. Richard Fisher director of Wilderness Research Expeditions, a non-profit organization in Tucson, Ariz., captured these recent shots of the cave. Rock and Gem magazine published some of Fisher’s pictures in its February issue.
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 For more information on the cave, read Mexico's Copper Canyon (www.coppercanyon.org) or write to Wilderness Expeditions, P.O. Box 40092, Tucson, AZ 85717


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