Sometimes known as The Sistine Chapel of Crystals, Mexico's Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals) contains many of the world's largest known crystals with some as long as 36 feet (11 meters) and 4 feet in diameter.
This natural wonder was found in 2000, deep below the Chihuahuan Desert. The crystals thrived in the cave's rare and stable natural environment. Temperatures in the cave were consistently around 136 degrees Fahrenheit (58 degrees Celsius) and filled with mineral rich water for hundreds of thousands of years. This mine lies above an intrusion of magma about a mile below the surface - another reason why Scientists believe the crystals are so clear and so luminous.
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 the minerals in the water began converting to Selenite. In other caves under the mountain, the temperature fluctuated or the environment was somehow disturbed, resulting in different and smaller crystals (see ours below). But inside the Cave of Crystals, conditions remained unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years.
While the "Cave of Crystals" has been closed to excavation, it remains open to Scientists who study it's rare formations. Currently on display at Astro Gallery is a 32" Selenite crystal that came from the original Naica mine. This specimen displays all of the mineral characteristics found in the massive Selenite pillars of the "Cave of Crystals".
Come in today to take a look at this incredibly special piece.