What must be one of the world’s most awesome natural wonders was discovered some 1,000 feet below ground in the Chihuahua desert, in northern Mexico.
Chihuahua is by far Mexico’s largest state, sharing a considerable land border with the USA. Chihuahua City is an important historical center and also a terminus for the spectacular Copper Canyon train journey.
Known simply as “Cueva de los Cristales” (Cave of Crystals), the underground cavern is home to some of the world’s largest natural crystals. They are composed of Gypsum and some have been measured at over thirty-six feet in length. The soil beneath the Chihuahua desert is rich in lead and silver, and the crystal caverns were discovered by miners drilling the Naica mine, south of the state’s capital city.
From the pictures published by National Geographic, the caverns look like Superman’s secret lair; the humans in the pictures give an interesting perspective of the sheer size and scale of the blade-sharp crystals.
When scavengers began to visit the site, the cave entrance was secured by means of a thick steel-door. If you want to experience these unique caves, you’ll need to arrange visits through an acknowledged geological research organization. The temperature in the caves exceeds 112F (45C) with humidity levels in excess of ninety per cent. Protective clothing and specialized equipment is required to explore the caves safely.
However, everyone may enjoy the photo gallery of the cave here, on the National Geographic web site.
Map image identifying Naica from Google Maps (Satellite view)
Mexico in your inbox
Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.