Friday, February 26, 2010

Silvio, Silver, & The Crystals of Mystery

The photo was taken in a cave in Mexico, where the largest crystals in the world, so far, were accidentally found in 2000. Three men are also visible in the photo at about 10 o'clock (one man), and at 4 o'clock (two men).

They are the reddish, small entities crawling around on the massive crystals, one of which appears to be about the size of the Washington Monument in D.C.

The owners of the silver mine are scheduled to let the cave fill back up with water, and we shall lose the crystals it seems.

One wonders why the government of Mexico does not turn this into a scientific and tourist sight for the benefit of humanity?

Could the crystals be a source for energy or power, how and when did they form, or are there more?

Like Silvio in the Bob Dylan song, don't these people realize that silver won't buy back the beat of a heart grown cold to the wonders of the planet?


  1. Dredd, Hi buddy, I've been following the crystal cave since it was made public and that it will be sealed is not a problem. This cave is a big ol' calcite geode.

    The ambient temps are so high the folks doing the exploration can't stay in but for about 45 minutes wearing moon cooled suits and will suffer heat exhaustion after about 15 minutes unprotected. Calcite's (unlike quartz) deteriorate when left exposed to air at normal temps. I have dug a couple of geodes and, over the years, see deterioration in the calcite inclusions since I broke them open.

    I would have to look it up but I believe I read that the cave system was drained for exploration and (silver) processing. sealing the cave and letting it fill with water may be the only way to actually save the crystals. Tourist's and a tourist friendly climate is the last thing this cave needs.

  2. lottakatz,

    Tiny subs, remote controlled, like when they explored the Titanic,

    Sounds like a crystal aquarium, if it is filled with clear water.

    One drill hole with stainless steel casing to let the subs in and out, like the coal mine rescuers do, and we have a crystal museum with low upkeep.

    It may be too far from the beaten path for that to work.

  3. It is said that the crystals are made of selenite (gypsum) in those caves.

    The deeper into the system the larger the crystals.

    If they are selenite, they will degrade in water.

    Mystics think the selenite crystals have metaphysical powers, scientists use crystals to make lasers.

    Is that crystal clear yet?

  4. Hi Dredd and Randy, I am wrong about the calcite but the water is a good thing. I just saw a portion of the TV show Life After People that highlighted the cave and they postulated that the crystals would again start to grow when the water again floods the cave [after the mining pumps fail]. Also this is part of the article NatGeo did on the crystals:

    "Spanish crystallographer Juan Manuel García-Ruiz was one of the first to study the Naica crystals beginning in 2001. More familiar with microscopic crystals, García was dizzied by the proportions of the Naica giants. By examining bubbles of liquid trapped inside the crystals, García and his colleagues pieced together the story of the crystals' growth. For hundreds of thousands of years, groundwater saturated with calcium sulfate filtered through the many caves at Naica, warmed by heat from the magma below. As the magma cooled, water temperature inside the cave eventually stabilized at about 136°F. At this temperature minerals in the water began converting to selenite, molecules of which were laid down like tiny bricks to form crystals. In other caves under the mountain, the temperature fluctuated or the environment was somehow disturbed, resulting in different and smaller crystals. But inside the Cave of Crystals, conditions remained unchanged for millennia. Above ground, volcanoes exploded and ice sheets pulverized the continents. Human generations came and went. Below, enwombed in silence and near complete stasis, the crystals steadily grew. Only around 1985, when miners using massive pumps lowered the water table and unknowingly drained the cave, did the process of accretion stop."

    It would seem that the (ground) water conditions arising naturally in the cave (mineral rich to the point of being supersaturated) works to grow the crystals the way one grows sugar chrystals in water supersaturated with sugar.

    Now, if the water stops having the mineral balance replenished, that could be a problem. Allowing that section of the mine to return to a natural state shouldn't pose a problem unless the mining operation itself has altered the groundwater irreversibly.

  5. lottakatz,

    I wonder if we could grow those crystals (crystal farms) if a way could be found to make lasers out of them in an energy efficient manner?

    The lasers would be huge compared to those used in tiny crystals.

    Obviously we have not yet tried to use mega-crystals as laser generators to produce useful energy.

  6. Hi Dredd, I failed to mention in my last posting that your idea to build in a way to monitor the status of that section of the cavern and its crystal formations would, to me, be crucial to the continuing health of the formations. I agree totally that some monitoring must be done.

    If the groundwater is not at the correct temperature or does not maintain a mineral saturation that encourages crystal growth them the cave may well be better off drained to keep the leaching/dissolving damage (that Randy anticipates) from becoming a problem.

    The main danger mentioned of it remaining a dry cave is that the crystals might begin to absorb harmful chemicals that are airborne as a byproduct of the mining process elsewhere in the system and that the water relieves some of the stress caused by the size of the crystals. They are less likely to collapse under their own weight if water is present. Even dry, there might be some way to filter the air and shore up the crystals in most danger of collapse.

    Big crystals, big lasers, big power!!! WoW, are you looking to create a worm-hole or what? :-) Purity of the farm grown, really BIG crystals would probably be an issue but I like that you take a large view .

  7. lottkatz,

    Big crystals, big lasers, big power!!! WoW, are you looking to create a worm-hole or what? :-)"

    I wonder if anyone has used sunlight focused into a small beam by refraction (e.g. magnifying glass) then directed into a crystal to see what the laser would be like?

    That area has abundant sunlight, and it would be free, except for mirrors to carry it down a shaft.

    ... anyway enough pop science ... ;)

    Thanks for the comments.