Giant Crystal Cave

Giants do not live among crystals in Giant Crystal Cave – the crystals are the giants.

  • Giant Crystal Cave is a cave located in the Naica Mine in Chihuahua’s Naica, in Mexico, in southern North America, at a depth of 300 metres (980 feet).
  • ‘Giant Crystal Cave’ is also known as ‘Cave of the Crystals’, ‘Cave of Crystals’ and ‘Cave of Giant Crystals’.
  • Giant Crystal Cave is the home to some of the largest natural crystals discovered on earth and the crystals are made of selenite, a type of gypsum.
  • The largest crystal of Giant Crystal Cave is said to reach a length of 12 metres (39 feet), a diameter of 4 metres (13 feet) and is believed to weigh approximately 50 tonnes (55 tons).
  • Giant Crystal Cave boasts very high temperatures, averaging 58°C (136°F) and has humidity above 90%, making the cave difficult and dangerous to explore.
Giant Crystal Cave, Mine, Naica, Mexico, Large, Men, Ten Random Facts, Places, Gypsum
Part of Giant Crystal Cave
Image courtesy of Julie Rohloff/Flickr
  • Giant Crystal Cave is situated above a magma chamber, that emanates great heat, and due to the mineral rich water originally in the cave, the undisturbed environment and hydrothermal circulation, the huge crystals had the opportunity to form over thousands of years.
  • Giant Crystal Cave was first discovered in the year 2000 while drilling tunnels in the mine, although the area is to said to have been drained of water since 1975; and while it is possible that the cave may be closed in the future, doing so will allow water levels to rise and the crystals to recommence growing.
  • Giant Crystal Cave is generally only visited by scientists, such as the expedition in 2006 led by crystallographer Paolo Forti, of Italy’s University of Bologna, Europe, that required the invention of special suits.
  • There are possibly more chambers connected to Giant Crystal Cave, however access would require the destruction of numerous crystals.
  • Giant Crystal Cave is owned privately by Industrias Peñoles, a Mexican mining company that mines primarily zinc, silver and lead from the Naica Mine, and the site is not open to the public.
Bibliography:
Cave of the Crystals, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_the_Crystals
Mexico’s Cave of Giant Crystals, n.d, Crystalink, http://www.crystalinks.com/mexicocrystals.html
Naica Mine, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naica_Mine
Naica, 2014, Proyecto Naica, http://www.naica.com.mx/english/

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Diamond

Ooooooooh – pretty! Well, pretty if polished and cut. Polished and cut facts coming right up!

  • Diamond is one of the rarest and prettiest stones in the world.
  • Diamonds are made from carbon.
  • Diamond is the hardest natural material ever discovered.  The hardness results from the strong carbon atom arrangement.
  • Originally, the main diamond producers were India, Africa and Brazil but currently, Australia and Russia have the greatest supplies and mine more diamonds than any other country in the world.
  • Diamond is normally found in rivers or in a type of rock called kimberlite.Blue cut polished diamond, Ten Random Facts, Free Digital Photos
Polished, Cut Diamond
Image courtesy of Anusorn P Nachol/ Free Digital Photos
  • Diamonds are bought and sold using a measurement called carats, which is equal to 0.2 grams.
  • Before kimberlite was discovered, diamond was often dug out from the sand.
  • Now people use x-rays to separate diamond from kimberlite rock.
  • 75%-80% of people’s engagement rings contain a diamond.
  • Nearly 80% of the diamonds that are mined are used for tools or other equipment since they are not suitable to be used as gemstones.
Bibliography:
Diamond 12 October 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond>
Herbert, S 1980, Diamonds, Wayland Publishers Limited, England

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