The Naica mines are located in the State of Mexico named Chihuahua. The mines are working mines and are best known and recognized for its extraordinary selenite crystals. The municipality of Saucillo is located in Naica and the Naica mines are lead, Zinc and silver mine operated by Industrias Penoles which is Mexico’s largest lead producers. These caves of crystals are approximately 1,000 feet which is equal to 300m below the surface in the limestone host rock of the mining area. This chamber of crystals contains giant selenite crystals which are the largest crystals ever discovered in the history. The selenite crystals were developed and formed by hydrothermal fluids emanating from the magma chambers whereas when the carven was discovered, the miners were drilling through the Naica fault it made them curious as it would flood the mine area.
The locals in Mexico City call the caves as “Sueva de los Cristales” which means cave of the crystals. This place is also known as the Crystal caves of Giants and cave of the giant crystals. In reality, there are three co-joined caves and is one much larger than the other one. This caves are home for vast fingers of selenite which rise in columns and they are so tall that they dwarf then human beings and making them crawl across the areas. These caves are not open for the general public as they are not that safe but a special entry can be made possible.
The translucent crystals are measured up to 36 feet in height and weighs about 55 tons on an average. They are considered as the largest natural crystals ever been discovered on earth which attracts the geologists and scientists in their hordes as well the tourists and are considered as a great form of attraction. Though the place is not meant for the tourists as a person cannot stand inside the cave more than a few minutes as the temperature inside is very high and heats up inside.
The location of this cave is underground and beneath there is a pool of magma rising up to the core of the Earth and as discussed it is really very hot down there. The temperature is almost up to 150 F which is 65.5 C which has been recorded in the largest cave while the smaller ones are baked up to 100 F.
These Gigantic crystals have been growing since more than over 5,00,000 years. As the underground water seeps down through the porous limestone bed, the caverns become flooded over time as there is a change in the atmosphere. The underground water in here is rich in gypsum minerals and oxygen. The gypsum in the water solidifies into Selenite crystals because the magma heat works like a mob on the cooker while maintaining the water at a simmering steady temperature of 122 F for half a million years.
The mining in this area began in 1794 when the Tarahumara people had been very much aware about the gold and silver in the Naica hills. The origin in the Tarahumara language seemed to be a shady place perhaps there was a grove of trees tucked away by a small canyon spring in this small canyon. They had even extracted some of it with the help of small scale surfing digging method. They even found zinc and lead in the ground in the 19th century which was even more valuable than gold and silver and this is the moment when the first ever mining company on a large scale was formed tunneling deep into the Earth. The caves are kept empty and free from water the companies which own them. Their pumps extract almost 22,000 gallons of water per minute with the help of the system and machines used. The operation done is an expensive one and is likely to be ceased soon.
The penetrating heat is nearly forgotten as the crystals pop into the view on the other side of ‘Eye of the Queen’. The entire panorama is lighted and the cavern has a depth and impressive cathedral like appearance. When inside the great cathedral of crystals, the pressure of intense heat creates a gamut of emotions in a human being and perhaps lead to the creation of hallucinations. During the time of Russian Revolution, the mine used to produce a great deal of wealth for the state. The revolutionary troops entered the town and demanded money from the owners of the mines which ultimately lead to shutting down the mines from 1911 to 1922 as one of them was assassinated when he refused to pay the revolutionary troops.
The mines were closed down in 1912 when an extraordinary burrowing was discovered at a surprising depth of 400 feet. And was named as the Cave of Swords. This cave was considered as the most impressive cavern and some of the crystals have grown to around 6.6 feet while others cloister together covering all the walls of the cave. Some of these crystals were broken down and taken away by the geological wonders to experiment and to be exhibited in the museum all around the world. Yet the mining opened again in the year 1922 with the extraction of gold, zinc and lead and even finding small selenite crystals lying around occasionally.
In the year 2000, in the month of April, two brothers were working for Industrias Penoles Naica mines named Juan and Pedro Sanchez. They had been given orders to drill a new tunnel into the previously unexplored drilled ones to a depth of 984 ft and when this occurred both the brothers stood still and stared at the awe-inspiring caverns now known as the crystal’s cave.