Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

What will be the future of the giant gypsum crystals of Naica mine?

By
Paolo Forti
Paolo Forti
La Venta Esplorazioni Geografiche & Italian Institute of Speleology, via Zamboni 67, 40 126 Bologna, Italy
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

The mine caves of Naica (Chihuahua, Mexico) are famous because they host large gypsum crystals. Mine works intersected new caves hosting the largest crystals in the world in the year 2000. From 2006 these caves became the object of a multidisciplinary research project with the goal of inferring their ages, the boundary conditions for their formation and the mechanisms inducing their development. Several other scientific aspects were also considered, including palynology, mineralogy, microbiology, physiology, hydrogeology and astrobiology. From 2006 to 2009, scientists and explorers tried to ensure the complete documentation of these natural wonders because they were expected to be accessible for only a few years. As a result of their location c. 160 m below the natural groundwater level, they were predicted to be flooded with thermal water as soon as dewatering of the mine ceased. This occurred at the end of 2015, so that the lower part of the mine is already submerged and in the near future the giant crystal caves will also disappear. Theoretically, it is still possible to maintain these incredible wonders for future generations, but this seems highly unlikely. Soon the crystals will be submerged below c. 150 m of hot water, restarting their incredible slow growth.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Advances in Karst Research: Theory, Fieldwork and Applications

M. Parise
M. Parise
University Aldo Moro, Italy
Search for other works by this author on:
F. Gabrovsek
F. Gabrovsek
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
Search for other works by this author on:
G. Kaufmann
G. Kaufmann
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Search for other works by this author on:
N. Ravbar
N. Ravbar
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of London
Volume
466
ISBN electronic:
9781786203786
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal