Gypsum, Tramps and Thieves

The Deadliest place on Earth? Surviving Cueva de los Cristales – The Giant Crystal Cave

Cueva de los Cristales is the incarnation of our most awesome science fiction imaginations – Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. At about the same time as humans first ventured out of Africa, these crystals began to slowly grow. For half a million years they remained protected and nurtured by a womb of hot hydrothermal fluids rich with minerals.

Undisturbed, one can only guess how big they may have eventually grown. Yet when mining began here over a hundred years ago, the water table was lowered and the cave drained. The crystals seemingly interminable development was frozen forever leaving them as aborted relics of the deep earth. It wasn’t until 2001 that miners, searching for lead, eventually penetrated the cave wall and brought it to light. The very act of discovering and witnessing them has triggered their slow decay and now no one knows what their fate will be. Once the mine ceases to operate it could be flooded by polluted mine water and abandoned forever, and that’s if ambitious mineral sellers don’t get to them first and rip them out to sell around the world – a plight of other smaller crystal caves in the area.

One thought on “Gypsum, Tramps and Thieves

  1. If the alternative is allowing the cave and its stunning crystals be flooded, I say the crystal sellers should have at it. Moving these to the surface would be an enormous undertaking, especially if you want the largest ones unbroken. I’d have to check around, but these are on the verge of being the largest crystals ever found. It would be a shame to loose them under toxically contaminated groundwater.

Comments are closed.