In the year 2000 miners in northern Mexico found a cave, 300 m below the surface level, full of extraordinary selenite crystals. Selenite is one of the four varieties of the mineral gypsum. These incredibly large crystals grew to sizes of up to 1.2 m (4 feet) in diameter and 15 m (50 feet) in length; the weight of a single crystal can reach 50 tons. How could these crystals get so colossal? They had about 500 000 years of time to grow under very stable conditions. Slightly supersaturated mineral-rich water from a magma chamber below the cave and stable, warm temperatures over a long period allowed a long-lasting crystallisation.


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Selenite Crystals in the Naica Mine
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Published by Published or last modified on 2014-03-26