The Gypsum Files

Notes on the Rock Nobody Knows

Selenite – Crystal Cathedrals

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Unbelievably beautiful!


What is it?

It is the dream of all crystallographers to develop a technique which can grow the largest and highest quality crystals possible. Often this is extremely difficult to do due to all of the competing factors which can drive crystal growth, and so it is often considered an art form. The rarity of large single crystals is what makes the Naica crystal caves truly extraordinary.

The great crystal cavern of NAICA mines. The great crystal cavern of NAICA mines.

Buried 300 meters below the surface, and discovered at a time when we people believed that they had seen every spectacular sight the earth had to offer, are the selenite crystal caves (Figure 1). No, this is not a carefully constructed Photoshop; those are real people climbing over pure gypsum crystals, otherwise known as selenite. In fact these are the largest of any naturally occurring crystals measuring up to 12 m in length, 4 m in diameter and…

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Written by Elizabeth McCullough

May 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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