Deep below a mountain near Naica, Mexico, miners searching for fresh ore deposits in 2000 came across an unexpected and awesome sight.
After pumping water from an undiscovered cave they suddenly realised the magnitude of their find. Massive, milky-white crystals towered around them, filling a horseshoe-shaped cave. Luminous beams of gypsum bigger than telephone poles, nearly 12 m long and 1 m wide, jutting in all directions out of the brown limestone walls, floors, and ceiling. This became known as the “Sistine Chapel” of Crystal world
How was it formed?
Understanding this cave is understanding the wonder of gypsum, selenite and its interchanging states. Temperature and moisture play an important part in this formation! This magnificent cavern was filled with groundwater for tens of thousands of years. A magma chamber that's located deeper in the Earth, drove the water into the chamber, with a very special mineral Anhydrite.
Now at temperatures of 58c or more, anhydrite remains stable. But at lower temperatures, the mineral is liable to dissolve and then reform as gypsum.
The magma underneath Giant Crystal Cave kept the water in the cave nice and hot. Eventually, however, the H2O's temperature dipped slightly below 58c After that happened, the anhydrate started breaking down, filling the water with calcium and sulfate. The particles slowly began recombining into a kind of gypsum known as selenite.
Over 500,00 to 900,000 years majestic selenite crystals grew and took over the cave. Because the crystals remained underwater — and because the water temperature stayed within a few degrees of 58c — they were able to keep growing continuously.
Can we visit them?
After pumping out the water from the cave, the exploration began. It soon became apparent that the perfect conditions to grow selenite into this superb cave where not the more hospitable for human beings! With temperatures of 49c and humidity close to 100%, the researcher found the risk of fluids condensing inside their lungs was too great. Entering the cave without special protective suits can be fatal in 15 minutes. Specialist equipment helped but even then time had to be limited to 45 minutes.
In 2017 The mining company stopped pumping water out of the cave, and allowed it to slowly return to its original state. After 20 years of exposing them to air the selenite was able to re-submerge and hopefully start to continue growing again. These amazing caves are no longer accessible but still an example of what the planet can create, and a wonderful visual to the power of crystals.
I have a wee video about anhydrite below for you to look at! Give you an idea of what happened in the cave.
Gyspum is a big favourite of mine. Because of its adaptability and all its various forms. It remind us of the ability of life to change and reform in new ways. To cleanse and renew, to rebirth and adapt.
This weekend (20th February -22nd February) we have 15% off all selenite with the code: CLEANSE15.