Think about all of those spectacular displays of mineral crystals that grace the world’s mineral museums. A great many of the large, faceted crystals grew in some sort of cavity over long periods of time. Such mineral crystals are discovered in vugs, pockets and cavities exposed in mines and quarries. The conditions under which they were found are very different from the conditions under which they grew. The fluids from which they grew are long gone, a challenge for mineralogists to deduce from the surviving clues of trace elements, isotopes, and fluid inclusions. Now, consider a cave. It also is...

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