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.