Naica Mine is the name of a crystal mining site located in Chihuahua, the state of Mexico, precisely in Naica, the city of Saucillo. There are several mines in Naica, namely lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), and silver (Ag). All of the mines are operated by Industrias Penoles which is the largest lead producer in Mexico.
The country where Naica Mine is located is known as a beautiful country and has a lot of stunning natural sceneries. In addition to being the place of the underwater river, this country also has the largest crystal embedded in that cave. This cave produces crystal with a size that is super large so as make human looks smaller when entering into that area.
This cave was first discovered during the progress of mining. At that time the miners who were mining in the new area actually even find the spectacular cave. After the discovery, the cave was closed to the public especially after the workers tried to enter the cave to steal some of the crystals contained in the cave. Those who entered the cave instead of getting the property even lost their lives due to suffocation and eventually died from the conditions and unfriendly atmosphere of the cave.
Inside the Crystal Cave contained crystal selenite (gypsum) 1.2 m (4 ft) in diameter and reaches 15 m in length. The cave is connected with Naica Mine along 300m below the surface of Naica. When the existence of the cave unfolded, Penoles announced in October 2015 that they would delay the mine operation in Naica Mine for an unlimited time.
The natural selenite crystals in the Crystal Cave are the largest ever found. The crystals appear to be caused by hydrothermal fluid coming from the lower magma chamber heating the underground water to a level where the water is saturated with minerals. The saturated mineral water contained and the temperature inside relatively stable makes the crystal grow to a new size.
Recently it was alleged that the highest temperature in the cave ranged from 40o-58o C (136o F) with humidity reaching 90-100%. These conditions make the rate of human respiration disturbed and increase the risk of lack of oxygen. Therefore, to be able to enter and survive in the cave required special clothes and proper protection. Without it, all humans will not be able to survive more than two hours or even can only survive for 10 minutes.
Researchers began their study of this cave since 2001 and continue to confirm that the Crystal Cave may be flooded again by 2017. After enough research, some area will be allowed to watering again and the process of crystal growth can continue again. Previously mining companies pumping water out of the cave so that researchers can freely create documents and study the formation of giant minerals inside the Crystal Cave.
The study of this cave found the conclusion that with the help of the use of uranium dating (one of the oldest and most advanced radiometric dating schemes), scientists can determine the age of crystals that are 500,000 years old. More interesting, not long ago Dr. Penelope Boston of the NASA Astrobiology Institute successfully isolated the sleeping microbes in the crystal and revived them.
After an investigation, it turns out that the microbes have been at least 10,000 years old and may reach 50,000. This is certainly very interesting for scientists who want to learn more about these special microbes because it can adapt to such difficult conditions. NASA assumes that the environment may be similar to the harsh conditions on other planets in the solar system. There is also a little clue to the discovery that certain organisms may develop underground in the absence of light.
The discovery in Naica Mine, especially the Cave of Crystal continually makes the world’s people stunned. This place becomes very interesting to learn more deeply. Therefore, as a science-intensive environment, Naica Mine needs to be preserved environmentally.