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Roger Weller, geology instructor

Mexican Cave
by Roberto Cardenas
Physical Geology
Fall 2009

Cave of Crystals


     Like most discoveries the Cave of Crystals in Chihuahua, Mexico was not what the prospectors were looking for in early 1794. Actually a vein of silver was found in the Naica Mountains so the continuous mining of both silver and gold was the primary interests. Then in 1911 before the mine closed the now famous cave was found. The discoverers called it the Cave of Swords because of the resemblance between swords and crystals. The cave was preserved to insure the natural beauty of the caves, then in the year 2000 Juan and Pedro Sanchez made another discovery while drilling a new tunnel. The brothers stumbled onto the Queen’s Eye, which is the main portion of the Cave of Crystals.

mexico crystals

Forming of the Crystals:

     These massive crystals were formed by mineral rich water and a magma chamber located two to three miles under the cave. The anhydrite started to dissolve then got into the water enriching it in sulfate and calcium molecules. The water being heated by the magma chamber caused deposits to form which have created these gigantic selenite gypsum crystals to form over millions of years.

Climate of Cave:

These crystals are now preserved by the extreme heat and humidity of the cave. There is a door that divides the Cave of Crystals from the mining area to maintain the temperatures. The mining area stays at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit so people can continue working in it while the Cave of Crystals stays at about 122 degrees Fahrenheit so the crystals can keep their form. Because of these temperatures tours of the cave are very short because this kind of heat can cause brain damage. It is very common for individuals visiting to begin to hallucinate and get very emotional for no reason; these are symptoms of a person being put under great pressure from heat. Despite the danger of visiting the caves, some feel it is worth it to risk their health in order to reap the believed benefits of the crystals. It is believed that the crystals have the ability to enhance someone’s “natural beauty” as well as give mental focus, growth, immunity, and soothes emotions. It has not been proven that the selenite crystals have done any of these things but like other beliefs, people still have faith in them.


     It is amazing to thing that these types of natural wonders were formed from the content of the earth and we have the privilege of seeing these things. While looking at these pictures of the crystals I began to think about other caves like Kartchner Caverns and Colossal Cave of Arizona that have been discovered by chance. I say “by chance” because if you look at the surface of these two caves and the Cave of Crystals they look very dull but someone took the chance to go down and find the earth natural beauty. In conclusion, there are most likely places like this all over the world, they may not have the same content but if these things continue to be found we can all become more knowledgeable about the geology of the earth.

Pictures of Giant Crystal Cave, Naica, Mexico: Mine 

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